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HOW 
CHRIST CAME TO CHURCH 



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How ^ 

Christ Came to Church 



THE PASTOR'S DREAM _^ ^ 



A SPIRITUAL AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

By a. J. GORDON, D. D. 



THE LIFE-STORY, AND THE DREAM AS; JKTE*'^- 
PRETING THE MAN > . 

By a. T. PIERSON, D. O. 



Lo, I am with you alway " 

The Christ 



FLEMING H. REVELL COMPANY 
New York Chicago Toronto 

Publishers of Evangelical Literature 

AMERICAN BAPTIST PUBLICATION SOCIETY 
1420 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia 

BOSTON NEW YORK CHICAGO ST. LOUIS DALLAS ATLANTA 

MDCCCXCVI 



THE NEW YORK 
PUBLIC LIBRARY 

744436 

A8TOR, LENOX AND 
TILDEN FOUNDATIONS 

R 1916 L 



Copyright 189s by the 
A»iERICAN^ BAPTIST PUBLICATION SOCIETY 



CONTENTS 



PAGB 

PART I 
The Life-Story vii-xxiii 



PART II 

How Christ Came to Church . . . 25-92 

I. The Dream . . . . , 27 

II. Here To-day . , 33 

III. And to Come Again 44 

IV. If I Had not Come 56 

V. In Thy Light 65 

VI. The Temple of God is Holy 74 

VII. Cleansing the Temple 85 



VI CONTENTS 

PART III 

The Dream as Interpreting the 
Man 93-149 

I. Loyalty to the Person of Christ . , 100 

II. The Personal Coming of Christ ... 106 

III. The Sacredness of the Preacher's 

Vocation 113 

IV. Jealousy for Divine Worship 121 

V. The Authority of the Word of God 127 

VI. The Scriptural Pattern of Church 

Life 133 

VII. The Presidency of the Spirit in the 

Church 139 

VIII. The Last Message to the Church , . 146 



PART I 

THE LIFE-STORY 




THE LIFE-STORY 

0\V simple and brief are the outlines of 
a human life. And yet only eternity 
can fill out those outlines, and make 

visible the unseen mysteries which we call 

character and influence. 

Adoniram Judson Gordon 

IVas bom April ig, iSj6. 

Was cojiverted to God in i8j2, and was bap- 
tized the same year. 

Was in New London, from i8^j to 183'j ; in 
Brown University , from iSjy to i860 ; in Newto7i 
Theological Seminary , from i860 to i86j. 

Ordaif led at Jamaica Plain, June, i86j. 

Married to Maria Hale, October ij, iS6j. 

Removed to Boston, December, i86g. 

Departed this life, February 2, i8g^. 



*■ THE LIFE-STORY 

This life thus reaches over a period lacking 
little of three-score years, and may be roughly 
divided into three parts, each embracing about 
twenty years : the first twenty, his growth to man- 
hood ; the second twenty, his development as a 
Bible student and preacher of the word ; and the 
third period being especially memorable for his 
maturity as a Spirit-filled teacher and leader. 

The character and life of Dr. Gordon are so 
rich, both in incident and suggestion, so full of 
lessons in living for generations to come, that it is 
proposed to prepare a fuller biography hereafter. 
But, by way of introducing this marvelous per- 
sonality to readers who were acquainted with the 
man only through his writings or public utterances, 
it may be well to give a brief sketch, as in profile, 
of his leading characteristics, and especially such 
as may help to elucidate the experiences connected 
with the dream, here recorded. 

Dr. Gordon will long be remembered as a 
prince among the preachers and teachers of the 
modern pulpit. With preachers, as with music- 
ians, there are different and distinct classes, and 
it is easy to find to which he belongs. 

Some study to express the word and mind of 
God ; they are exegetes. Others study their own 
states and express their own spiritual moods and 
experiences ; they are autobiographers. Others 
deal in divine conceptions, but invest them with 
the interest of their own experimental history ; 



THE LIFE-STORY XI 

these are witnesses and reach the truest ideal. 
Dr. Gordon was one of these. No man's preach- 
ing was a more faithful exposition of the word of 
God. He would have counted it an affront to the 
Scriptures to use them as a mere convenience to 
hang his own thoughts on, or caricature them by 
a misapplication of sacred words. He was both 
too original in research and too independent in 
opinion, to become a mere reflector of others' 
views, like the copyist, or substitute sound for 
sense like the dealer in platitudes. He honestly, 
patiently, and prayerfully studied the word of 
God, and then illustrated — we might almost say 
illuminated — it by his own experience. 

No review of this life, however hasty, must 
leave out his work as an author. Ten marked 
contributions to the literature of the age remain, 
apart from the editorials and more transient arti- 
cles in the "Watchword," the rehgious news- 
papers, the "Missionary Review," etc. His 
books fall into five classes. One on "The Min- 
istry of Healing," another, his "Coronation 
Hymnal," and this last, his " Spiritual Autobiog- 
raphy," must stand by themselves. Then there 
are four precious books which center about the 
person of Christ : "In Christ," "The Two-fold 
Life," "Grace and Glory," and "Ecce Venit," 
Two have specially to do with the Holy Spirit : 
"The Ministry of the Spirit," and the "Holy 
Spirit in Missions." But what a wide range and 



XU THE LIFE-STORY 

scope of treatment, and on what vital themes ! It 
is not too much to say of these books that they 
constitute rehgious classics, and ought to form 
part of every well-furnished library. 

In his literary style three things are peculiarly 
prominent : first, his vigorous and discriminating 
use of language ; secondly, his marvelous power 
of analysis and antithesis ; and thirdly, his simple, 
natural, forceful illustrations. In these respects 
his writings will repay any one for critical and 
habitual study. If the literary productions of 
any man of this century can in these respects 
supply a better model for young men who are pre- 
paring to preach, we know not where they are to 
be found. Dr. Gordon's book, for instance, on 
the " Ministry of the Spirit," is so tersely written 
and so carefully wrought out in every part, that 
there is scarcely one needless noun or heedless 
adjective in all the sixty thousand words w^hich 
compose it ; while every page bristles with new 
and instructive suggestions ; and the whole is so 
reverent and worshipful that it suggests a man 
consciously treading on holy ground. 

Twenty-five years of this serviceable life were 
spent in the Clarendon Street Church, Boston ; 
and in helping to mold that church into conformity 
with primitive apostolic models was found the 
crowning work of his life. It implies neither 
exaggeration of his own merit nor depreciation of 
the service of any other man to affirm that it was 



THE LIFE-STORY XUl 

permitted to him, amid the atmosphere of Unita- 
rianism and hberahsm, to build up a beheving 
brotherhood, characterized by as simple worship, 
pure doctrine, and primitive practice as any other 
in the world. 

To those who are familiar with the inner secrets 
of the life of this church, its central charm is one 
which is not apparent to the common eye : the 
adnmtistration of the Holy Spirit is there devoutly 
recognized and practically realized. The beloved 
pastor sought, and with great success, to impress 
upon his people the fact that in the body of Christ 
the Holy Spirit literally though invisibly indwells ; ; 
that he is ready, if he finds a willing people, to • 
oversee and administer all that pertains to the 
affairs of the body of Christ ; and that, as his 
administration both demands and depends upon 
co-operation, there must be neither secular men 
nor secular methods introduced into the practical 
conduct of Christ's church, but the Spirit of God 
must be recognized and realized as the Divine , , 
Archbishop finding there his See. It took years '^ 
to get this practically wrought into the life of the \ 
church ; but under his persistent teaching and 
patient pastoral guidance, there came a gradual 
elimination of worldly elements, and a gradual 
transformation of the whole church as a working 
body until it has become a model for other 
churches, approximating very closely to the apos- 
tolic pattern. 



XIV THE LIFE-STORY 

Dr. Gordon has written many noble books 
and pamphlets ; but among all the volumes he has 
produced, this is the most complete and satisfac- 
tory. This church is his permanent " living epis- 
tle." The golden pen of action, held in the firm 
hand of an inspired purpose, has been for a quar- 
ter of a century writing out its sentences in living 
deeds, to be known and read of all men. And 
the greatest problem now awaiting solution is, 
how far this church is going to prove that the 
Holy Spirit still administers the body of Christ 
there. Should these brethren show that they have 
been inwardly saying, "I am of Dr. Gordon," 
rather than, "I am of Christ" ; and were this 
church to prove only a sheaf, of which the pastor 
was the bond, and which when the bond is 
removed falls apart, it would be a world-wide 
reproach. If, on the other hand, it shall not only 
as an organization survive the pastor's removal, 
but shall preserve jealously the high type of excel- 
lence it attained under his ministry ; shall prove 
not man-centered but Christ-centered ; and shall 
regard itself as a kind of legatee unto whom the 
pastor has committed the gospel he preached, the 
work he began, and the witness he maintained, to 
be guarded and perpetuated — this survival of the 
whole work when the w^orkman has gone up 
higher, will be a testimony to the whole church 
and the whole world, as mighty and as far- 
reaching as any witness of its sort in our generation. 



THE LIFE-STORY XV 

It is a growing conviction that the hfe-work of 
Dr. Gordon has reached singular completeness, 
a rounded symmetry and sphericity. Nothing 
seems wanting. In the beauty of Christian char- 
acter and culture he had so grown into the meas- 
ure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, that it 
may be doubted whether the whole communion of 
believers presented one man more ripe in godliness 
and usefulness. He was in every sense a great 
man : great in his mind, in his genius, having not 
only the administrative but the creative faculty ; 
not only organizing but originating. His versatil- 
ity was amazing. He would have been great in 
many spheres. Had he been a judge, with what 
judicial equity and probity he would have adorned 
the bench. Had he been a trained musician, 
what glorious oratorios he might have given to the 
world. Had he been called to rule an empire, 
with what mingled ability and urbanity he would 
have discharged imperial functions. 

But if he was not great in the eyes of men, he 
was great in the eyes of the Lord, and greatest 
because of his humility. Ordinary progress is 
from infancy to manhood ; but, as Hudson Taylor 
says, Christian progress is in the reverse order, 
from manhood perpetually backward toward the 
cradle, becoming a Httle child again, one of God's 
little ones, for it is the little ones that get carried 
in the Father's arms and fondled. 
**» Coleridge sagaciously hints that the highest 



xvi THE LIFE-STORY 

accompaniment of genius in the moral sphere is 
the carrying forward of the feehngs of youth into 
the period of manhood and old age. Dr. Gordon 
more than any man I ever knew remained to the 
last perfectly childlike, while he put away and left 
behind whatever was childish. 

In estimating the character of Dr. Gordon 
great stress should be laid on these childlike traits. 
The ma7i of God was emphatically a child of God. 
He never lost his simplicity ; he rather grew 
toward it than away from It ; there was a per- 
petual return toward the spirit, attitude, and habi- 
tude of a babe in Christ. His humility and meek- 
ness, his frankness and candor, his generosity and 
gentleness, will always stand out conspicuous in 
the remembrance of all who knew him best. 

The love that flooded him was, however, a 
supernatural grace. Seldom do we find such 
energy of conviction softened by such charity for 
differing conviction. His creed was steeped in 
love. He disarmed criticism by magnanimity, and 
blunted the weapons of controversy by the impreg- 
nable armor of an imperturbable equanimity. 
While I was with him on one of our missionary 
tours, he gave utterance to certain convictions 
which met strong opposition ; but one of his most 
stubborn opponents confessed that he would 
rather hear Dr. Gordon when he did not agree 
with him than any other man when he did. 

One of the most beautiful features of his work 



THE LIFE-STORY XVll 

and character was his unconsciousness of the leal 
greatness of his attainment and achievement. 
When the Spirit of God controls a disciple, growth 
in grace and power and service becomes so 
natural and necessary as to be largely unconscious 
and in a sense involuntary. Great results come 
without human planning, certainly without human 
boasting. Mrs. Stowe said of "Uncle Tom's 
Cabin," that greatest work of modern fiction, that 
it was never begun or carried on by her with any 
thought of doing any great thing or becoming 
famous. She was simply possessed of an idea 
which she had to Avork out in a natural way, and 
she was a pen in the hands of God. And so 
yielding herself to him as an instrument, a book 
was produced which God used as a lever to upturn 
and overturn a monstrous fabric of wrong which 
it took a hundred years to build, and which was 
buttressed by commercial gains and carnal self- 
interest, and justified in the name of morality and 
even religion. A book was given to the world 
which Palmerston thrice read for its lessons on 
statesmanship, and which has been translated into 
fifty tongues. 

This Boston pastor, even at the very last, when 
his successful pastorate seemed so solitary in its 
greatness, had no sense of having done any great 
thing ; or if the thought of his superb triumph ever 
was suggested to him by others, he could only 
answer : " What hath God wrought ! " "A man 



XVIU THE LIFE-STORY 

can receive nothing except it be given him from 
heaven." 

It is true, success of such sort as his is always 
costly. No man ever attains such exceptional 
godliness, or achieves such exceptional usefulness, 
w^ithout getting a reputation for being eccentric, or 
as a fanatic, if not a heretic. Aristotle long ago 
said that there is no great genius without some 
mixture of madness ; nothing supremely grand or 
superior was ever wrought save by a soul agitated 
by some great unrest and upheaved by some great 
purpose. The torrents that are the melting of 
stainless snows, high up toward heaven, and 
w^hich rush down the side of the mountain to 
carry healing waters afar to dry and desert wastes, 
leave a scarred and torn mountain's breast behind. 
But, as Keith Falconer said : We must not fear 
to be thought eccentric, for what is eccentricity 
but being out of center? and we must be out of 
center as to the world if we would be adjusted to 
that other divine center of which the world knows 
nothing. 

Such success also costs self-abnegation. The 
whole raising of our church-life depends on the 
higher standard of our ministry. " Like people, 
like priest." The ministry is the supreme flower 
and fruit of church-life — as to growth, its sign of 
consummation ; as to fruit, its seed of propagation 
and reproduction. The ambition after a cultivated 
ministry flatters pride and carnality. But there is 



THE LIFE-STORY XIX 

a culture which is fatal to the highest fruitfulness 
in holy things. The common wild rose has a 
perfectly developed seed vessel, but the double 
rose, the triumph of horticulture, has none — the 
ovaries being by cultivation absorbed into stamen 
and petal : the beauty of the blossom is at the 
expense of the fertility of the seed vessel. There 
is a type of ministerial scholarship that is destruc- 
tively critical and proudly intellectual, and hinders 
soul-saving. Let it not be thought that it cost 
Dr. Gordon nothing to renounce and resign the 
proud throne among pulpit orators and biblical 
scholars which his gifts seemed to offer, and 
seek simply to be a Spirit-filled man — consenting 
to be misunderstood, misrepresented, ridiculed, 
that he might be loyal to the still small voice 
within his soul ! 

This beloved brother stands out as a man, a 
man of singularly gifted mind, with rare insight 
into truth and clear methods of thinking and 
expressing thought ; a man of large and noble 
heart, quick in sympathy, quickened into divine 
love, and knowing the "expulsive power of a 
new affection ' ' for Christ ; a man of clean, pure 
tongue, whose speech was seasoned with salt and 
always with grace, anointed with power ; a man 
of blameless life, in whose conduct the Babylon- 
ian conspirators would have found as little flaw as 
in Daniel's. 

But he interests us most of all as the rniMt of 



XX THE LIFE-STORY 

God, the man of the Book, versed in the word of 
God ; the ' ' man in Christ ' ' whom we have known 
since " fourteen years ago," who looked back for 
his faith to Christ's first advent, and forward for 
his hope to his second coming ; the man of the 
Holy Ghost in whom the Spirit dwelt, and who 
dwelt in the Spirit, as the air is in us and we in it, 
his element ; and as the man of God, of Christ, 
of the Spirit ; in the church, a faithful preacher, 
loving pastor ; and in the world, not of it, yet 
evermore to it a blessing. 

Personally, the writer who pens this loving 
tribute never thinks of Dr. Gordon without recall- 
ing one specially memorable and delightful experi- 
ence of association with him in a mission tour 
among the churches of Auld Scotland in 1888. 
After the World's Conference on Missions in 
Exeter Hall, London, and while we were en route 
to the "Eternal City," an invitation came from 
the Scottish capital, so urgent and earnest, that 
we should visit Edinburgh in the interest of mis- 
sions before the students in the theological schools 
had scattered for the season, that he felt moved 
to abandon the Continental trip, and we went 
back from Paris, arriving at Edinburgh in time 
for a garden party at the grounds of Duncan 
McLaren, Esq., on Saturday afternoon, July 14. 
Then followed in rapid succession colossal meet- 
ings in the famous "Synod Halls" of the Free 
\ Church, and United Presbyterian body. And so 



THE LIFE-STORY Xxi 

great was the impression made by Dr. Gordon's 
knowledge of missions, grasp of the whole sub- 
ject, and especially his mingled earnestness and 
unction, that on the sixteenth of July a crusade 
was proposed to be undertaken by him and the 
the writer jointly, among the churches of Scot- 
land. The pressure was so great that we yielded 
as to the will of God, and after a week in Edin- 
burgh, with other great meetings in the Synod 
Halls, we left together, visiting Oban, Inverness, 
Strathpeffer, Nairn, Forres, Elgin, and Aberdeen, 
where we spent August 5th. Dr. Gordon then 
felt called to return to America, and the rest of 
the tour was without his helpful inspiration. But 
wherever he went in 1888 he is remembered, and 
will not be forgotten while this generation lasts. 
That year the impulse thus given to missions was 
such that more candidates offered and more money 
was contributed than in any previous year. Would 
that such a man could have been spared to make 
a world-tour of missions and carry a like inspira- 
tion elsewhere ! When we think of such a man, 
taken from us in his very prime, when we might 
have counted on twenty years more of service, we 
can only remember the words of Holy Scripture : 

" Be still, and know that I am God." 

" I was dumb with silence : " 

" I opened not my mouth because Thou 
didst it." 

" What I do thou knowest not now ; " 



XXll THE LIFE-STORY 

" But thou shalt know hereafter." 

We have not yet come to the point where we 
may penetrate the thick darkness where God 
dwells, and know the secrets of his purpose who 
doeth all things well. We can only trust blindly 
in the promise that all things work together for 
good to them that love God. 

' ' Ye sorrow not as others which have no 
hope." Sorrow is not forbidden, but a hopeless 
sorrow is also a faithless sorrow. 

We begin the New Testament with Rama, 
where Rachel's disconsolate grief still echoes, 
weeping and refusing to be comforted for those 
who are not. But we are to leave Rama behind 
as we find Him who says : "I am the Resurrec- 
tion and the Life," and move on in his company 
toward the New Jerusalem. 

Even the Psalm of Moses (90 : 15, 16) teaches 
us a sublime lesson in divine compensation, 
"Make us glad according to the days wherein 
thou hast afflicted us." An inspired prayer is 
also a prophecy. If we submit cheerfully to him 
he will give us gladness for every affliction and 
evil day, and even so great a sorrow as this shall 
somehow be turned into joy. 

Professor Chapell has suggested a most appro- 
priate quotation as the epitaph of this holy man and 
witness for Christ : 
''I think it 7neet, as lo7ig as I am in this taberftacie. 

To stir you up by putting you in re7neinbrance ; 



THE LIFE-STORY XXUl 

Knowing that shortly I must put off this my taber- 
nacle, 
Even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shelved 7ne. 
Moreover I will e?tdeavour that ye may be able 
After my decease 
To have these things always in remembt'atice. 
For we have not followed cun7iingly devised fables^ 

When we jnade known imto you 
The power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. ' ' i 

1 2 Peter i : 13-16. 



PART II 

HOW 
CHRIST CAME TO CHURCH 




THE DREAM 

OT that I attach any importance to 

dreams or ever have done so. Of the 

hundreds which have come in the 

night season I cannot remember one which has 

proved to have had any prophetic significance 

either for good or ill. As a rule moreover, dreams 

are incongruous rather than serious, a jumble of 

impossible conditions in which persons and things 

utterly remote and unconnected are brought 

together in a single scene. But the one which 

I now describe was unlike any other within my 

remembrance, in that it was so orderly in its 

movement, so consistent in its parts, and so fitly 

framed together as a whole. I recognize it only 

as a dream ; and yet I confess that the impression 

of it was so vivid that in spite of myself memory 

brings it back to me again and again, as though 

it were an actual occurrence in my personal 

history. 

And yet why should it be told or deliberately 

committed to print ? "I will come to visions and 

revelations of the Lord," says the apostle. His 

27 



28 HOW CHRIST CAME TO CHURCH 

was undeniably a real, divinely given, and super- 
natural vision. But from the ecstasy of it, 
wherein he was caught up into paradise and 
heard unspeakable words, he immediately lets 
himself down to the common level of discipleship. 
"Yet of myself I will not glory but in my infirm- 
ities." God help us to keep to this good con- 
fession evermore ; and if perchance any unusual 
lesson is taught even "in visions of the night 
when deep sleep falleth on men ' ' let us not set 
ourselves up as the Lord's favorites to whom he 
has granted especial court privileges in the king- 
dom of heaven. No, the dream is not repeated 
as though it were a credential of peculiar saint- 
ship, or as though by it God had favored me with 
a supernatural revelation ; but because it contains 
a simple and obvious lesson, out of which the 
entire book which we are now writing has been 
evolved. 

It was Saturday night, when wearied from the 
work of preparing Sunday's sermon, that I fell 
asleep and the dream came. I was in the pulpit 
before a full congregation, just ready to begin my 
sermon, when a stranger entered and passed 
slowly up the left aisle of the church looking first 
to the one side and then to the other as though 
silently asking with his eyes that some one would 
give him a seat. He had proceeded nearly half- 
way up the aisle when a gentleman stepped out 
and offered him a place in his pew, which was 



THE DREAM 29 

quietly accepted. Excepting the face and features 
of the stranger everything in the scene is distinctly 
remembered — the number of the pew, the Chris- 
tian man who offered its hospitality, the exact seat 
which was occupied. Only the countenance of 
the visitor could never be recalled. That his face 
wore a peculiarly serious look, as of one who had 
known some great sorrow, is clearly impressed on 
my mind. His bearing too was exceeding humble, 
his dress poor and plain, and from the beginning 
to the end of the service he gave the most respect- 
ful attention to the preacher. Immediately as I 
began my sermon my attention became riveted on 
this hearer. If I would avert my eyes from him 
for a moment they would instinctively return to 
him, so that he held my attention rather than I 
held his till the discourse was ended. 

To myself I said constantly, "Who can that 
stranger be ? " and then I mentally resolved to 
find out by going to him and making his acquaint- 
ance as soon as the service should be over. But 
after the benediction had been given the departing 
congregation filed into the aisles and before I 
could reach him the visitor had left the house. 
The gentleman with whom he had sat remained 
behind however ; and approaching him with great 
eagerness I asked : ' ' Can you tell me who that 
stranger was who sat in your pew this morning ? ' ' 
In the most matter-of-course way he replied : 
•' Why, do you not know that man ? It was Jesus 



30 HOW CHRIST CAME TO CHURCH 

of Nazareth." With a sense of the keenest dis- 
appointment I said: "My dear sir, why did you 
let him go without introducing me to him ? I was 
so desirous to speak with him." And with the 
same nonchalant air the gentleman replied : ' ' Oh, 
do not be troubled. He has been here to-day, 
and no doubt he will come again." 

And now came an indescribable rush of emo- 
tion. As when a strong current is suddenly 
checked, the stream rolls back upon itself and is 
choked in its own foam, so the intense curiosity 
which had been going out toward the mysterious 
hearer now returned upon the preacher : and the 
Lord himself " whose I am and whom I serve" 
had been listening to me to-day. What was I 
saying ? Was I preaching on some popular theme 
in order to catch the ear of the public ? Well, 
thank God it was of himself I was speaking. 
However imperfectly done, it was Christ and him 
crucified whom I was holding up this morning. 
But in what spirit did I preach ? Was it ' ' Christ 
crucified preached in a crucified style " ? or did 
the preacher magnify himself while exalting 
Christ ? So anxious and painful did these ques- 
tionings become that I was about to ask the brother 
with whom he had sat if the Lord had said any- 
thing to him concerning the sermon, but a sense 
of propriety and self-respect at once checked the 
suggestion. Then immediately other questions 
began with equal vehemence to crowd into the 



THE DREAM 3I 

mind. "What did he think of our sanctuary, its 
gothic arches, its stained windows, its costly and 
powerful organ ? How was he impressed with the 
music and the order of the worship ? " It did not 
seem at that moment as though I could ever again 
care or have the smallest curiosity as to what men 
might say of preaching, worship, or church, if I 
could only know that he had not been displeased, 
that he would not withhold his feet from coming 
again because he had been grieved at what he 
might have seen or heard. 

We speak of " a momentous occasion. ' ' This, 
though in sleep, was recognized as such by the 
dreamer — a lifetime, almost an eternity of interest 
crowded into a single solemn moment. One present 
for an hour who could tell me all I have so longed 
to know ; who could point out to me the imperfec- 
tions of my service ; who could reveal to me my 
real self, to whom, perhaps, I am most a stranger ; 
who could correct the errors in our worship to 
which long usage and accepted tradition may have 
rendered us insensible. While I had been preach- 
ing for a half-hour He had been here and listening 
who could have told me all this and infinitely 
more — and my eyes had been holden that I knew 
him not; and now he had gone. "Yet a little 
while I am with you and then I go unto him that 
sent me." 

One thought, however, lingered in my mind 
with something of comfort and more of awe. ' 'He 



32 HOW CHRIST CAME TO CHURCH 

has been here to-day, ajid no doubt he will come 
again ' ' / and mentally repeating these words as 
one regretfully meditating on a vanished vision, 
" I awoke, and it was a dream," No, it was not 
a dream. It was a vision of the deepest reality, a 
miniature of an actual ministry, verifying the 
statement often repeated that sometimes we are 
most awake toward God when we are asleep 
toward the world. 




II 

HERE TO-DAY 

ERE to-day, and to come again." In 
this single sentence the two critical 
turning-points of an extended ministry 
are marked. It is not what we have but what we 
know that we have which determines our material 
or spiritual wealth. A poor farmer owned a piece 
of hard, rocky land from which, at the price of 
only the severest toil, he was able to support his 
family. He died and bequeathed his farm to his 
eldest son. By an accident the son discovered 
traces of gold on the land which, being explored, 
was found to contain mineral wealth of immense 
value. The father had had precisely the same 
property which the son now possessed, but while 
the one lived and died a poor man the other 
became independently rich. And yet the differ- 
ence between the two depended entirely upon the 
fact that the son knew what he had, and the 
father did not know. ' ' Where two or three are 
gathered in my name there a77t I in the midst of 
them,'" says Christ. 

Then the dream was literally true, was it? 

3 33 



V i 



34 HOW CHRIST CAME TO CHURCH 

Yes. If this promise of the Son of God means 
what it says, Jesus of Nazareth was present not 
only on that Sunday morning, but on every Sun- 
day morning when his disciples assemble for wor- 
ship. "Why, then, oh preacher, did you not fix 
your attention on him from the first day you stood 
up in the congregation as his witness, asking how 
you might please him before once raising the ques- 
tion how you might please the people, and how in 
your ministry you might have his help above the 
help of every other ? Was the dream which cam.e 
to you in the transient visions of the night more 
real to you than his own promise, 'Lo, I am with] 
you alway,' which is given in that word which 
endureth forever?" Alas, that it was ever so! 
It is not what we know but what we know that we 
know which constitutes our spiritual wealth. I 
must have read and expounded these words of 
Jesus again and again during my ministry, but 
somehow for years they had no really practical 
meaning to me. Then came a blessed and ever- 
to-be-remembered crisis in my spiritual life when 
from a deeper insight into Scripture the doctrine 
of the Holy Spirit began to open to me. Now I 
apprehended how and in what sense Jesus is pres- 
ent : not in some figurative or even potential sense, 
but literally and really present in the Holy Spirit, 
his invisible self. "And I will pray the Father, 
■j and he shall give you another Comforter, that he 
may abide with you for ever'' (John 14 : 16). 



HERE TO-DAY 35 

The coming of this other Paraclete was con- 
ditioned on the departure of Jesus : " If I go I 
will send him unto you." And this promise was 
perfectly fulfilled on Pentecost. As truly as Christ 
went up, the Holy Ghost came down : the one 
took his place at the Father's right hand in 
heaven, the other took his seat in the church on 
earth which is ' ' builded together for a habitation 
of God in the Spirit. ' ' And yet, lest by this dis- 
course about his going and the Comforter's com- 
ing we should be led to think that it is not Christ " 
who is with us, he says, clearly referring to the 
Spirit : "I will not leave you orphans ; / will 
come to you.'" Thus it is made plain that the 
Lord himself is truly though invisibly here in the 
midst of every company of disciples gathered in 
any place in his name. 

If Christ came to church and sat in one of the 
pews, what then ? Would not the minister con- 
strain him to preach to the people and allow him- 
self to be a listener ? If he were to dechne and 
say: "I am among you as one that heareth," 
would he not beg him at least to give the congre- 
gation some message of his own through the lips 
of the preacher ? If an offering for the spread of 
the gospel among the heathen were to be asked on 
that morning, would not the Master be besought 
to make the plea and to tell the people how he 
himself " though rich, for our sakes became poor 
that we through his poverty might be rich " ? If 



36 HOW CHRIST CAME TO CHURCH 

any strife existed in the flock, would there not be 
an earnest appeal to him, the Good Shepherd, to 
guide his own sheep into the right way and to 
preserve the fold in peace ? 

Ah, yes. And Christ did come to church and 
abode there, but we knew it not, and therefore 
we took all the burden of teaching and collecting 
and governing on ourselves till we were often 
wearied with a load too heavy for us to bear. 
Well do we remember those days when drudgery 
was pushed to the point of desperation. The 
hearers must be moved to repentance and confes- 
sion of Christ ; therefore more effort must be 
devoted to the sermon, more hours to elaborating 
its periods, more pungency put into its sentences, 
more study bestowed on its delivery. And then 
came the disappointment that few, if any were 
converted by all this which had cost a week of 
solid toil. And now attention was turned to the 
prayer meeting as the possible seat of the difficulty 
— so few attending it and so little readiness to par- 
ticipate in its services. A pulpit scourging must 
be laid on next Sunday, and the sharpest sting 
which words can effect put into the lash. Alas, 
there is no increase in the attendance, and instead 
of spontaneity in prayer and witnessing there is a 
silence which seems almost like sullenness ! Then 
the administration goes wrong and opposition is 
encountered among officials, so that caucusing 
must be undertaken to get the members to vote as 



HERE TO-DAY 37 

they should. Thus the burdens of anxiety increase 
while we are trying to lighten them, and should-be 
helpers become hinderers, till discouragement 
comes and sleepless nights ensue ; these hot 
boxes on the train of our activities necessitating 
a stop and a visit of the doctor, with the verdict 
over-work and the remedy absolute rest. 

It was after much of all this of which even the 
most intimate friends knew nothing, that there 
came one day a still voice of admonition, saying, 
' ' There standeth one among you whom ye know 
not.'' And perhaps I answered, "Who is he. 
Lord, that I might know him?" I had known 
the Holy Ghost as a heavenly influence to be 
invoked, but somehow I had not grasped the 
truth that he is a Person of the Godhead who 
came down to earth at a definite time and who has 
been in the church ever since, just as really as 
Jesus was here during the thirty and three years 
of his earthly life. 

Precisely here was the defect. For it may be a 
question whose loss is the greater, his who thinks 
that Christ is present with him when he is not, or 
his who thinks not that Christ is present with him 
when he is ? Recall the story of the missing child 
Jesus and how it is said that " they supposing him 
to be in the company went forward a day's jour- 
ney." Alas, of how many nominal Christians is 
this true to-day ! They journey on for years, say- 
ing prayers, reciting creeds, pronouncing confes- 



38 HOW CHRIST CAME TO CHURCH 

sions, giving alms, and doing duties, imagining 
all the time that because of these things Christ is 
with them. Happy are they if their mistake is 
not discovered too late for them to retrace their 
steps and to find, through personal regeneration, 
the renewed heart which constitutes the absolute 
essential to companionship with the Son of God. 

On the other hand, how many true Christians 
toil on, bearing burdens and assuming responsi- 
bilities far too great for their natural strength, 
utterly forgetful that the mighty Burden-bearer of , 
the world is with them to do for them and through 
them that which they have undertaken to accom- 
plish alone ! Happy also for these if some weary 
day the blessed Paraclete, the invisible Christ, 
shall say to them, ' 'Have I been so long time with 
you and yet hast thou 7iot known me f ' So it 
happened to the writer. The strong Son of God 
revealed himself as being evermore in his church, 
and I knew him, not through a sudden burst of 
revelation, not through some thrilling experience 
of instantaneous sanctification, but by a quiet, 
sure, and steady discovery, increasing unto more 
and more. Jesus in the Spirit stood with me in a 
kind of spiritual epiphany and just as definitely 
and irrevocably as I once took Christ crucified as 
my sin-bearer I now took the Holy Spirit for my 
burden-bearer. 

" Then you received the baptism of the Holy 
Spirit did you?" some one will ask. Well, we 



HERE TO-DAY 39 

prefer not to use an expression which is not strictly 
bibhcal. The great promise, " Ye shall be baptized 
in the Holy Ghost" was fulfilled on the day of 
Pentecost once for all, as it seems to us. Then 
the Paraclete was given for the entire dispensation, 
and the whole church present and future was 
brought into the economy of the Spirit, as it is 
written : " For in one Spirit were we all baptized ) 
into one body " (i Cor. 12 : 13, R. V.). But for > 
God to give is one thing ; for us to receive is quite 
another. "God so loved that he gave his only \ 
begotten Son," is the word of our Lord to Nico- 
demus. But it is written also : "As many as 
received him to them gave he power to become 
the sons of God." In order to regeneration and 
sonship it is as absolutely essential for us to 
receive as for God to have given. So on the day 
of Pentecost the Holy Spirit, as the Comforter, 
Advocate, Helper, and Teacher and Guide, was 
given to the church. The disciples who before 
had been regenerated by the Spirit, as is commonly 
held, now received the Holy Ghost to qualify and 
empower them for service. It was another and 
higher experience than that which they had 
hitherto known. It is the difference between the 
Holy Spirit for renewal and the Holy Spirit for 
ministry. Even Jesus, begotten by the Holy 
Ghost and therefore called ' ' the Son of God, 
did not enter upon his public service till he had 
been "anointed," or "sealed," vnth that same 



40 HOW CHRIST CAME TO CHURCH 

Spirit through whom he had been begotten. So 
of his immediate apostles ; so of Paul, who had 
been converted on the way to Damascus. So of 
the others mentioned in the Acts, as the Samaritan 
Christians and the Ephesian disciples (19 : 1-8). 
And not a few thoughtful students of Scripture 
maintain that the same order still holds good ; 
that there is such a thing as receiving the Holy 
Ghost in order to qualification for service. It is 
not denied that many may have this blessing in 
immediate connection with their conversion, from 
which it need not necessarily be separated. Only 
let it be marked that as the giving of the Spirit by 
the Father is plainly spoken of, so distinctly is the 
receiving of the Spirit on the part of the disciples 
constantly named in Scripture. When the risen 
Christ breathed on his disciples and said : 
" Receive ye the Holy Ghost," it is an active not 
a passive reception which is pointed out, as in the 
invitation: "Whosoever will, let him take the 
water of life freely." Here the same word is 
used as also in the Epistle to the Galatians. 
' ' Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, 
or by the hearing of faith ? " (3:2). 

God forbid that we should lay claim to any 
higher attainment than the humblest. We are 
simply trying to answer, as best we may from 
Scripture, the question asked above about the bap- 
tism of the Holy Ghost. On the whole, and after 
prolonged study of the Scripture, we cannot resist 



HERE TO-DAY 4I 

this conviction : As Christ, the second person of 
the Godhead, came to earth to make atonement 
for sin and to give eternal hfe, and as sinners we 
must receive him by faith in order to forgiveness 
and sonship, so the Holy Spirit, the third person 
of the Godhead, came to the earth to communi- 
cate the "power from on high" ; and we 
must as believers in like manner receive him by 
faith in order to be qualified for service. Both 
gifts have been bestowed, but it is not what we 
have but what we know that we hav^e by a con- 
scious appropriating faith, which determines our 
spiritual wealth. Why then should we be satisfied 
with "the forgiveness of sins, according to the 
riches of his grace " (Eph. i : 7), when the Lord 
would grant us also "according to the riches of 
his glory, to be strenghened with might by his 
Spirit in the inner man " ? (Eph. 3 : 16.) 

To return to personal experience. I am glad 
that one of the most conservative as well as emi- 
nent theological professors of our times, has put 
this matter exactly as I should desire to see it 
stated. He says: " If a reference to personal 
experience may be permitted, I may indeed here 
set my seal. Never shall I forget the gain to con- 
scious faith and peace which came to my own soul 
not long after the first decisive and appropriating 
view of the crucified Lord as the sinner's sacrifice 
of peace, from a more intelligent and conscious 
hold upon the living and most gracious personality 



42 HOW CHRIST CAME TO CHURCH 

of the Holy Spirit through whose mercy the soul 
had got that view. It was a new development of 
insight into the love of God. It was a new con- 
tact, as it were, with the inner and eternal move- 
ments of redeeming love and power, and a new 
discovery in divine resources. At such a time of 
finding gratitude and love and adoration we gain 
a new, a newly realized reason and motive power 
and rest." ^ 

" A conscious hold upon the personality of the 
Holy Spirit ; " "a newly realized motive power." 
Such it was ; not the sending down of some new 
power from heaven in answer to long waiting and 
prayer, but an "articulating into" a power 
already here, but hitherto imperfectly known and 
appropriated. Just in front of the study window 
where I write is a street, above which it is said 
that a powerful electric current is constantly mov- 
ing. I cannot see that current : it does not 
report itself to hearing, or sight, or taste, or smell, 
and so far as the testimony of the senses is to be 
taken, I might reasonably discredit its existence. 
But I see a slender arm, called the trolley, reach- 
ing up and touching it ; and immediately the car 
with its heavy load of passengers moves along the 
track as though seized in the grasp of some mighty 
giant. The power had been there before, only 
now the car lays hold of it or is rather laid hold 

1 Principal H. C. G. Moule, Ridley Hall, Cambridge, Eng., 
"Veni Creator Spiritus," p. 13. 



HERE TO-DAY 43 

of by it, since it was a touch, not a grip, through 
which the motion was communicated. And would 
it be presumptuous for one to say that he had 
known something of a similar contact with not 
merely a divine force but a divine person ? The 
change which ensued may be described thus : 
Instead of praying constantly for the descent of a 
divine influence there was now a surrender, how- 
ever imperfect, to a divine and ever-present 
Being : instead of a constant effort to make use of 
the Holy Spirit for doing my work there arose a 
clear and abiding conviction that the true secret 
of service lay in so yielding to the Holy Spirit that 
he might use me to do his work. Would that the 
ideal might be so perfectly realized that over what- 
ever remains of an earthly ministry, be it shorter 
or longer, might be written the slightly changed 
motto of Adolphe Monod : 

' 'All through Christ : i7i the Holy Spirit : for 
the glory of God. All else is nothing. ' ' 




Ill 

AND TO COME AGAIN 

HE apprehension of the doctrine of 
Christ's second advent came eariier 
than the realization of the other doc- 
trine, that of his abiding presence in the church 
in the Holy Spirit. But its discovery constituted 
a no less distinct crisis in my ministry. "This 
same Jesus, which is taken up from you into 
heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have 
seen hitn go into heaven,'' is the parting promise 
of Jesus to his disciples, communicated through 
the two men in white apparel, as a cloud received 
him out of their sight. When after more than 
fifty years in glory he breaks the silence and 
speaks once more in the Revelation which he 
gave to his servant John, the post-ascension 
Gospel which he sends opens with, ''Behold, he 
Cometh with clouds, ' ' and closes with ' 'Surely I 
come quickly. '' Considering the solemn emphasis 
thus laid upon this doctrine, and considering the 
great prominence given to it throughout the teach- 
ing of our Lord and of his apostles, how was it 
that for the first five years of my pastoral life it 



AND TO COME AGAIN 45 

had absolutely no place in my preaching ? 
Undoubtedly the reason lay in the lack of early 
instruction. Of all the sermons heard from child- 
hood on, I do not remember Hstening to a single 
one upon this subject. In the theological course, 
while this truth had its place indeed, it was taught 
as in most theological seminaries of this country, 
according to the post-millennial interpretation ; 
and with the most reverent respect for the teachers 
holding this view I must express my mature con- 
viction that, though the doctrine of our Lord's 
second coming is not ignored in this system, it is 
placed in such a setting as to render it quite 
impractical as a theme for preaching and quite 
inoperative as a motive for Christian living. For 
if a millennium must intervene before the return 
of our Lord from heaven, or if the world's con- 
version must be accomplished before he shall 
come in his glory, how is it possible for his dis- 
ciples in this present time to obey his words : 
' ' Watch, therefore, for ye know not what hour 
your Lord shall come ' ' ? 

I well remember in my early ministry hearing 
two humble and consecrated laymen speaking of 
this hope in the meetings of the church, and urg- 
ing it upon Christians as the ground of unworld- 
liness and watchfulness of life. Discussion fol- 
lowed with these good brethren, and then a search- 
ing of the Scriptures to see if these things were 
so ; and then a conviction of their truth : and 



46 HOW CHRIST CAME TO CHURCH 

then ? The godly Wilham Hevvitson declares that 
the discovery of the scriptural hope of our Lord' s 
second coming wrought in him a change amount- 
ing almost to a second conversion. What if 
another, not presuming to be named in company 
with this consecrated saint, should nevertheless 
set his hand and seal to the affirmation that the 
strongest and most permanent impulse of his min- 
istry came from his apprehension of the blessed 
hope of our Lord's second coming ? 

But how is it that this doctrine, so plainly and 
conspicuously written in Scripture, could have 
remained so long undiscovered ? In answering 
this question we see how little ground we have for 
glorying over the Jews. They did not recognize 
Christ in his first advent because they discerned in 
Scripture only those predictions which announced 
him as a reigning and conquering Messiah. This 
conception they wove into a veil of exposition and 
tradition so thick that when Jesus appeared as the 
lowly and humble Nazarene they knew him not, 
but " hid as it were their faces from him." And 
this strong prepossession still obscures their vision 
so that "even unto this day when Moses is read 
the veil is upon their heart. 

With the larger mass of Gentile Christians the 
case is just the reverse. They know Christ cruci- 
fied, and beheving that the Cross is to conquer the 
world and that the preaching of the gospel in the 
present dispensation is to bring all men to God, 



AND TO COME AGAIN 47 

they see no need of the personal coming- of the 
Christ as king to subdue all things under his feet 
and to reign visibly on the earth. This concep- 
tion in turn has been woven into an elaborate 
veil of tradition for Gentile believers and " until 
this day, remaineth the same veil untaken away 
in the reading of the New Testament. 

It was not so in the beginning. For three 
hundred years the church occupied the position 
of a bride awaiting the return of the bridegroom 
from heaven — she, meantime, holding herself free 
from all alliance with this world, content to fulfill 
her calling in witnessing for Christ, in suffering 
with Christ, and so to accomphsh her appointed 
work of the gathering out of the elect body for the 
Lord "until he come." A strange and almost 
grotesque conception to many modern Christians 
no doubt. But it was while maintaining this atti- 
tude that the church moved on most rapidly and 
irresistibly in her missionary conquests. 

Then came the foreshado wings of the great 
apostasy. The world which had been a foe to 
the church became her friend and patron ; Con- 
stantine, the emperor of Rome, became her head, 
and thus the eyes of Christians began to be with- 
drawn from him who is " Head over all things to 
his church." The great and good Augustine 
yielded to the seduction and was among the first 
to teach that in the temporal triumph of Christi- 
anity the kingdom had already come, though the 



48 HOW CHRIST CAME TO CHURCH 

King with whose return the primitive church had 
been wont to identify the appearing of the king- 
dom was still absent. Little by little, as the 
apostasy deepened, this early hope of Christians 
became eclipsed till, in the words of Auberlin, 
" when the church became a harlot she ceased to 
be a bride who goes forth to meet her Bride- 
groom," and thus chiliasm disappeared. What 
moreover would have been deemed an apostasy in 
the primitive church grew into a tradition and a 
creed in the post-Nicene church, which creed until 
this day largely rules the faith of Christians. 

Within fifty years, however, there has been a 
widespread revival of the early teaching on this 
point, especially among the most eminent evan- 
gelists and missionary promoters, until to-day in a 
great company of devout Christians, the uplifted 
gaze is once more visible, and the advent cry 
"Even so come. Lord Jesus," is once more 
heard. 

"But tell me," we hear some one saying, 
"how it is that this doctrine can have such an 
inspiring and uplifting influence as you claim for 
it?" We answer, in more ways than can be 
described in a single chapter. 

" The doctrine of the Lord's second coming as 
it appears in the New Testament," says an emi- 
nent Scotch preacher, ' ' is like a lofty mountain 
which dominates the entire landscape." An 
admirable illustration ! For in such a case, no 



AND TO COME AGAIN 49 

matter what road you take, no matter what pass 
you tread, you will find the mountain bursting on 
your vision at every turn of the way and at every 
parting of the hills. What first struck me now, in 
reading the New Testament, was something like 
this : Whatever doctrine I was pursuing, whatever 
precept I was enforcing, I found it fronting toward 
and terminating in the hope of the Lord's second 
coming. Is watchfulness amid the allurements of 
the world enjoined, the exhortation is: "Watch 
therefore ; for ye kiiozv not what hour your Lord 
doth come'' (Matt. 24: 42). Is patience under 
trial and injustice counseled ? The word is : "Be 
patient therefore, brethren, imto the coming of the 
Lord'' (James 5 : 7). Is an ideal church pre- 
sented concerning whose deportment the apostle 
" needs not to speak anything " ? Its commenda- 
tion is : "Ye turned to God from idols to serve 
the living and true God ; and to wait for his Son 
from heaven" (i Thess. i : 9, 10). Is holy living- 
urged ? This is the inspiring motive thereto : 
"That, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, 
we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in 
this present world ; looking for that blessed hope, 
and the glorious appearing of the great God and 
our Saviour Jesus Christ" (Titus 2 : 12, 13). All 
paths of obedience and service lead onward to the 
mountain. Our command to service bids us 
"Occupy till I come" (Luke 19 : 13). In observ- 
ing the Lord's Supper we " shew the Lord's death 



50 HOW CHRIST CAME TO CHURCH 

//// he come'" (i Cor. ii : 26). In the injunction 
to fidelity the word is that we "keep this com- 
mandment without spot, unrebukable, until the 
appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ " (i Tim. 6 : 
14). Let any candid reader collate the texts in 
the New Testament on this subject, and he will 
see that our statement as to the pre-eminence of 
this doctrine is not exaggerated. 

To pursue the figure farther. As all the roads 
lead toward the mountain, so conversely the 
mountain looks out upon all the roads. Take 
your stand in the doctrine of the Lord's coming 
and make it your point of observation for viewing 
Scripture, and your map of redemption will very 
soon take shape, and the relation of part to part 
will become apparent. Just as Christ crucified 
is the center of soteriology, so Christ coming again 
is the center of eschatology. Place the Saviour 
Avhere the Scriptures place him, on the cross — 
" who his own self bare our sins in his own body 
on the tree " — and all the teachings of the cere- 
monial law become intelligible, and its types and 
offerings fit together into one harmonious system. 
God forbid that we should by a grain's weight 
lesson the emphasis upon Christ crucified. This 
is the central fact of redemption accomplished. 
Even so put Christ coming into his scriptural place 
and all the prophecies and Messianic hopes of the 
Old Testament and the New become intelligible — 
the establishment of the kingdom, the restoration 



AND TO COME AGAIN 5 1 

of Israel, the renewing of all things. These two 
centers — Christ crucified and Christ coming — 
must be rigidly maintained if all the Bible is to be 
utiHzed and all its teachings harmonized. 

So the writer bears joyful testimony that the 
discovery of this primitive doctrine of the gospel, 
the personal pre-millennial coming of Christ, con- 
stituted a new era in his study of the word of God, 
and gave an opening-out into vistas of truth 
hitherto undreamed of. And moreover, apart 
from the question of eschatology, it was the means 
af the deepest and firmest anchoring in all the 
doctrines of the evangelical faith. Why should 
not this be the case ? If it is true, as one has 
said, that " when the smallest doctrine in the body 
of truth is mutilated it is sure to avenge itself 
upon the whole system," why should it not be even 
more certainly the case, that one of the mountain 
truths of Scripture being recognized, all neighbor- 
ing doctrines should be lifted into distincter prom- 
inence around its base ? At all events, I confess 
myself so indebted to this hope in every way, that 
I cannot measure the loss it would have been to 
have passed through a ministry of twenty-five years 
without knowledge of it. 

And as to the relation of this truth to Christian 
life : Is not an unworldly and single-eyed ministry 
the supreme need in these days of a materialized 
civilization and a secularized church ? And where 
shall the most powerful motive to such a ministry 



52 HOW CHRIST CAME TO CHURCH 

be found ? No one who reads the New Testament 
carefidly can deny that our Lord has lodged it in 
the hope of his second coming. We may not see 
how the doctrine should have that effect ; but if he 
has so ordained, it will certainly be found true in 
actual experience. I recall a lecture which I heard 
some years since from a scholarly preacher in 
which he aimed to show that Christ's second com- 
ing so far from being personal and literal is a spir- 
itual and perpetual fact ; that he is coming all the 
time in civilization, in the diffusion of Christianity, 
and in the march of human progress. He closed 
his argument by questioning seriously what prac- 
tical influence upon Christian life the anticipation 
of an event so mysterious and so uncertain as to 
time and circumstance can have. Being asked to 
speak, 1 related a Httle household incident which 
had recently occurred. Having gone into the 
country with my children for a few weeks' vaca- 
tion, I had planned with them many pleasant 
diversions and engagements for the holidays, when 
almost upon my arrival I was summoned back to 
the city on an important mission. In the disap- 
pointment of the children I said to them ; " Chil- 
dren, I am going to the city to-day. But I shall 
soon be back again. I may come to-morrow, or 
the next day, or the day after, or possibly not till 
the end of the week, but you may expect me any 
time." It so happened that I was detained until 
Saturday. But when I returned I learned that in 



AND TO COME AGAIxV 53 

their eagerness to welcome me back the children, 
contrary to their natural instincts, had insisted on 
having their faces washed every day and upon 
having on their clean clothes and going down to 
meet me at train time. "A good stoiy," 
exclaimed the lecturer, "but it is not an argu- 
ment." Ah, but is it not? Human life is often 
found to be the best expositor of Scripture. He 
who put his sublimest doctrines into parables 
drawn from common experience can often be best 
understood through some homely household inci- 
dent. He would have his servants always washed, 
and clothed in white raiment during his absence. 
If we believe that he will not return till hundreds 
of years have elapsed, we may reasonably delay 
our purification and make no haste to put on our 
white raiment. But what if his coming is ever 
imminent ? Let this truth be deeply realized and 
let the parables in which he affirms it become 
household words to us, and who shall say that it 
will be without effect ? One at least may with all 
humility testify to its influence in shaping his min- 
istry. Without imparting any sombre hue to Chris- 
tian life ; without " replacing glory with gloom ' ' in 
the heart which should rejoice evermore, it is 
enough to say that when ' ' the solemn MaraiiatJia 
resounds constantly through the soul, the most 
powerful impulse is awakened toward our doing with 
all diligence what he would have us do, and our 
being with all the heart what he would have us be. 



54 HOW CHRIST CAME TO CHURCH 

" Then your dream came true, did it ?" No ; 
rather it had been true before it was dreamed, and 
the vision was a kind of resume of a quarter-cen- 
tury ministry. Here now in the Holy Spirit and 
to come again in person ! These were two discov- 
eries which, added to the fundamental truths 
already realized, brought unspeakable blessing 
into one Christian experience. We reiterate 
emphatically that that night-vision has never been 
regarded as anything supernatural or extraordi- 
nary in itself. Nevertheless there it stands to-day 
in the hall of memory, a dream-parable as clean- 
cut and distinctly outlined as a marble statue, 
with the legend inwrought in it, ''Hereto-day and 
to come to-morroiu,'' so that in spite of knowledge 
to the contrary it comes back again and again as 
an occurrence of actual history. Call it a dream 
of mysticism ? What if rather it might be named 
a vision of primitivism ? The most eminent living 
master of ecclesiastical history, Harnack, photo- 
graphing in a single sentence the church of the 
earliest centuries, says : " Originally the church 
was the heavenly Bride of Christ, the abiding 
place of the Holy Spirit.'" Does the reader not 
see that here is the same twofold conception — 
Christ in-resident in the church by the Spirit ; and 
Christ expected to return in person as the Bride- 
groom for his bride ? This was the church which 
moved with such rapid and triumphant progress 
against ancient heathenism. With no power 



AND TO COME AGAIN 55 

except "the irresistible might of weakness"; 
with no wealth except the riches of glory inherited 
through her heavenly citizenship ; refusing all 
compromise with the world, declining all patron- 
age of kings and emperors, she nevertheless went 
forth conquering and to conquer, till in a few 
years she had undermined the whole colossal fabric 
of paganism. And might not the church of Christ 
do the same to-day if she were to return to this 
primitive ideal ? and if renouncing her dependence 
on human resources — wealth and power and 
social prestige, she were to inscribe upon her 
banner that ancient motto : ' ' Not by might nor 
by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord." 
Such is the train of questioning started by a dream. 



IV 



IF I HAD NOT COME 




[O see Christ is to see ourselves by start- 
ling contrast. The religious leaders of 
our Saviour's day were sinners before 
they knew him, but their sin was not manifested. 
" If I had not come and spoken unto them they 
had not had sin," said Jesus, "but now they 
have no cloak for their sin." The Son of God is 
Christies Revelator before he is Christus Salvator. 
No truer testimony to the Messiahship was ever 
uttered than that of the Samaritan woman : 
" Come and see a man that told me all things 
that ever I did. Is not this the Christ ? " 

If Christ came to church it were a sacred 
privilege to entertain him ; and evermore the 
aisles which he had trodden would be counted 
holy ground. But are we ready for the revelations 
which his coming is sure to bring ? His glory 
would certainly manifest our guilt. Ah, yes ! 
And his lowly garb would also rebuke our costly 
attire, and his deep humility would shame the 
diamonds on jeweled Christian fingers. Does 
the reader remember how, in the dream, I saw 
56 



IF I HAD NOT COME 57 

him looking first to the one side and then to the 
other, as he walked up the aisle on that Sunday 
morning, as though silently begging for a seat ? 
Well, though there had been misgivings and ques- 
tionings about our system of pew rentals, with the 
sittings so graded that one could read the relative 
financial standing of the worshipers by noting 
their position in the broad aisles, the matter had 
not come home to me as a really serious question 
till Christ came to church on that morning. 
Judging by his dress and bearing it was evident 
that were he to become a regular attendant, he 
could not afford the best pew in the house : and 
this was distressing to think of, since I knew from 
Scripture that he has long since been accorded the 
highest place in heaven, " angels and authorities 
and powers being made subject unto him." And 
there were other things in our worship whose 
presence caused great searchings of heart, so 
soon as the Master of assemblies was recognized 
as being there. 

To translate the dream into plain literal prose : 
When it became a realized and unquestionable 
fact that, in the person of the Holy Ghost, Jesus 
is just as truly in the midst of the church as he 
once stood in the company of his disciples and 
" showed them his hands and his feet," then the 
whole house began to be searched as with a lifted 
candle. Yes ! And he is among us no longer 
* ' as one that serveth ' ' but as "a Son over his 



58 HOW CHRIST CAME TO CHURCH 

own house, whose house are we if we hold fast 
the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm 
unto the end." We who worship and we who 
conduct worship are simply his servants to do only 
what he bids us do, and to speak and act by the 
guidance of his Spirit. 

And judgment began with the pulpit as that 
mysterious man in yonder pew looked toward it 
and listened, though he spoke not a word. The 
theme had been scriptural and evangelical, as we 
have already said : but with what spirit was it 
presented ? We have " preached the gospel unto 
you in the Holy Ghost se?it forth from heaven ' ' 
(i Peter i : 12, R. V.), is almost the only homi- 
letical direction found in Scripture. And yet how 
deep and searching the words ! We are not to 
use the Holy Spirit in preaching : he is to use us. 
As the wind pours through the organ pipes, 
causing their voice to be heard, albeit according 
to the distinctive tone and pitch of each, so the 
Spirit speaks through each minister of Christ 
according to his special gift, that the people may 
hear the word of the Lord. Is it not the most 
subtle temptation which comes to the preacher that 
he allow himself to be played upon by some other 
spirit than the Paraclete ? the popular desire for 
eloquence, for humor, for entertainment, for wit, 
and originality, moving him before he is aware, to 
speak for the applause of men rather than for 
the approval of Christ ? Not until the presence 



IF I HAD NOT COME 59 

in the assembly of the Spirit of the Lord is recog- 
nized does this error come painfully home to the 
conscience. We must not enter into personal 
experience here, further than to tell the reader 
how repeatedly we have turned to the following 
paragraph in the Journal of John Woolman, the 
Quaker, and read and re-read it : 

' ' One day, being under a strong exercise of 
spirit, I stood up and said some words in meeting, 
but not keeping close to the divine opening, I said 
more than was required of me. Being soon sen- 
sible of my error, I was afflicted in mind some 
weeks, without any light or comfort even to that 
degree that I could not take satisfaction in any- 
thing. I remembered God and was troubled, and 
in the depth of my distress he had pity on me, 
and sent the Comforter. . . , Being thus hum- 
bled and disciplined under the cross, my imder- 
standijig became more stre7igtheiied to distmginsk 
the pure Spirit which moves inwardly jipo?i the 
heart, and which taught me to wait in silence, 
sometimes many weeks together, until I felt that 
rise which prepares the creature to stand like 
a trumpet through which the Lord speaks to his 
flock." 

Here is a bit of heart biography so antique and 
strange to that spirit of unrestrained utterance 
which characterizes our time, that it almost needs 
an interpreter to make it intelligible ; but if one 
has ever considered deeply the requirement to 



6o HOW CHRIST CAME TO CHURCH 

speak in the Spirit, its meaning will be very plain. 
Is it not as true of our spirits as of our bodies that 
the severest colds which we contract come to us 
from sitting in a draught ? Perhaps a current of 
popular applause strikes us and before we know 
it our fervor has become chilled, and then we find 
ourselves preaching self instead of preaching 
Christ, giving more heed to r!ietorical effect than 
to spiritual impression, till the Lord mercifully 
humbles us and shows us our sin. Well were it 
if we could sometimes impose on ourselves the 
penance of "silence many weeks together" till 
we should learn to "keep close to the divine 
opening." 

What was it then that Jesus in the Spirit 
seemed to demand as he appeared in church that 
morning ? What but the freedom of the place 
accorded to him who builded the house and there- 
fore " hath more honor than the house " ? Is it 
not written that " where the Spirit of the Lord is, 
there is liberty ' ' ? Not liberty for us to do as we 
will surely, but liberty for him to do as he will. 
And where is the Spirit now but in the church, his 
only sanctuary in this dispensation ? Let there be 
no restrictions on his house then, lest — if in his 
revelation the Spirit shall. 

Show us that loving man 
That rules the courts of bliss, 

coming into our assembly to-day "poor and in 
vile raiment " — he shall hear the word : " Stand 



IF I HAD NOT COME 6 1 

thou there or sit here under my footstool ; " while 
to the ' ' man with a gold ring and goodly apparel 
the invitation is given : "Sit thou here in a good 
place." 

And the Spirit must have equal liberty in the 
pulpit, so that if he choose to come into the ser- 
mon in the garb of plain and homely speech, he 
may not be refused a hearing. Indeed, it was 
just this accusation that came to one unveiled 
heart as Christ showed himself in yonder pew — 
the conviction that he might have been fenced 
out of the sermon many times when he had desired 
to be heard therein, because the discourse had 
been so elaborately pre-arranged and so exactly 
written out that after-thoughts were excluded 
though they should come direct from him. 

Ah, yes ; and that was not the deepest revela- 
tion. If Christ is present in the pulpit he must 
think his thoughts through us as well as speak his 
words by our lips. And what if these thoughts, 
like their Master, should be to some hearers like 
"a root out of a dry ground," having no beauty 
that they should desire them ? Art thou ready, 
oh preacher, to take all the consequences of letting 
the Lord speak through thee as he will ? This 
may sometimes lead thee out of the beaten path 
of accepted opinion and into ways that seem 
devious to sacred tradition. And this in turn, 
though done in humility, may bring upon thee the 
accusation of pride of opinion as though thou wert 



62 HOW CHRIST CAME TO CHURCH 

saying : "I have more understanding than all my 
teachers." Does the reader know the story of 
John Tauler, the mystic, and of that anointing and 
illumination of the Spirit which came to him after 
he had been for several years an eloquent 
preacher ? He represents some former teacher as 
chiding him for departing from his instructions ; 
to which he replies : " But if the highest Teacher 
of all truth come to a man he must be empty and 
quit of all else and hear his voice only. Know 
ye that when this same Master cometh to me he 
teaches me more in one hour than you and all the 
doctors from Adam down." Bold words ! Let 
us reverence our teachers and seek to know how 
much the Lord hath taught us through them ; let 
the words of commentators, who have prayed and 
pored over God's holy word to search out precious 
ore for us, be honored for all the wealth that they 
have brought to us, knowing that only " with all 
saints,'" can we "comprehend what is the 
breadth and length and depth and height" of 
the love of Christ which passeth knowledge. 
Nevertheless, it is good sometimes with Tauler 
"to be empty and quit of all else and hear his 
voice only." And that it might be so is perhaps 
the reason why Christ came to church that day. 
The world is full of books which demand our 
study if we would know the mysteries of God ; 
criticism has set up its "scientific method," 
declaring that what in the Bible cannot stand the 



IF I HAD NOT COME 63 

test must be discarded. But while the vendors 
of learning are crying " Lo here," and " Lo 
there," the Good Shepherd speaks, saying : " My 
sheep hear my voice " ; and he is still in the fold 
to care for his own, to lead them into green pas- 
tures where the freshest and sweetest truth is 
found ; to make them lie down by still waters in 
which they may see his own blessed face reflected. 
Only let not the sheep hear the voice of strangers 
who know not the truth : let them hear only Christ. 
He is not present in the church by his Spirit as 
critic and censor of the preacher, but as his gra- 
cious helper and counselor. Then give him lib- 
erty of utterance in your sermon, oh, man of 
God ! All our acquirements in knowledge of the 
world, all our mastery of style and expression he 
will use, if it is surrendered to him. But this is 
not enough. There must be such a line of Scrip- 
ture exposition in the sermon that the Spirit shall 
have free course to " ride triumphantly through it 
in his own chariot," the inspired word ; and there 
must be in it such windows looking toward "the 
divine opening" that he may find entrance at 
every point with suggestions, illuminations, inspi- 
rations. Let those who know bear witness whether, 
when preaching in such a frame, thoughts have 
not come in, far better than any which we had 
premeditated, lessons, illustrations, and admoni- 
tions fitted to the occasion and to the hearer as we 
could never have fitted them of ourselves. " So 



64 HOW CHRIST CAME TO CHURCH 

after many mortifications and failures when going 
to this warfare at mine own charges," writes one, 
" I found that on this day I had been at ease and 
had had liberty in prophesying, and withal had 
spoken better than I knew, and I said : ' Surely 
the Lord is in this place and I knew it not.' 

Give me to see thee and to feel 

The mutual vision clear ; 
The things unseen reveal, reveal, 

And let me know them near. 



V 



IN THY LIGHT 




llTHIN the church of God the quaUty of 
actions depends not altogether upon 

I what they are in themselves, but what 
they are in their relation to Christ. Many things, 
quite innocent in their proper sphere, become 
profane when brought into that temple where God, 
the Holy Ghost, has his dwelling place. 

That mysterious stranger who awed me by his 
presence in church on that morning, is no ascetic. 
It cannot be forgotten that he once mingled in the 
festivities of a marriage feast in Cana, and that he 
drew about him sportive children and took them 
in his arms and blessed them. "And if Christ 
is such a one, oh preacher ! do not make his 
church a mournful place where we must repress 
all exhibitions of natural joy and social good 
cheer, and becomxe as the hypocrites are who dis- 
figure their faces that they may appear unto men 
to fast." Well-spoken counsel, no doubt! Yet 
Christ is still Christ ; and he has never outgrown 
the print of the nails. So confident of this am I 

that in dreaming over my dream in waking hours, 
S 65 



66 HOW CHRIST CAME TO CHURCH 

it always seemed certain to me that, had I come 
near to him on that memorable Sabbath morning, 
I should have discerned the marks of his crucifix- 
ion in his body. What John the apostle is repre- 
sented as saying of our Lord still holds true : 
Cheerful he was to us : 
But let me tell you, sons, he was within 
A pensive man, and always had a load 
Upon his spirits. 

A convivial Christ is not quite the personage 
that rises up before us in the prophets and in the 
Gospels. And yet when one observes the pleas- 
ant devices for introducing men to him, which 
abound in the modern church — the music, the 
feasts, the festivals, and the entertainments — it 
would seem as though this were a very prevalent 
conception. No ! Jesus is the serious Christ, 
the faithful and true witness who will never cover 
up his scars in order to win disciples. Our latter 
day Christianity would not abolish the cross 
indeed, but it seeks so to festoon it with flowers, 
that the offense thereof may be hidden out of sight. 
If Christ crucified is "unto the Greeks foolish- 
ness," why not first present him in some other 
character if any of this cultured people are among 
the hearers ? But does not the reader remember 
that when " certain Greeks " came to worship at 
the feast, saying " we would see Jesus," the first 
recorded word which the Saviour spoke to them 
was : "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a 



IN THY LIGHT. 6/ 

corn of wheat fall into the ground and die it 
abideth alone ; but if it die it bringeth forth much 
fruit," thus presenting the whole deep doctrine of 
the cross in a single condensed parable ? Never 
has there been such a laborious attempt to popu- 
larize Christ as in the closing years of this nine- 
teenth century. But if the Saviour were to come 
to church and reveal himself to those who have 
so mistaken his identity, we can well think of his 
saying : " Behold my hands and my feet that it is 
If?tyself; handle me and see." Ah, yes ! here 
are the tokens by which we recognize his real per- 
sonality. "I perceive that Christ suffered only 
his wounds to be touched after he had risen from 
the dead," says Pascal, "as though he would 
teach us that henceforth we can be united to him 
only through his sufferings." 

But it is Christ in the Spirit not Christ in the 
flesh whom we recognize as dwelling in the church 
now ; and it is the church as a spiritual temple 
builded of living stones, not a material structure 
fashioned of wood or granite and consecrated to 
the Lord of which we are now speaking. Yes, 
and out of this conception came the heartsearch- 
ing and the house-searching of which we write. 

I have told the reader how having in vision 
recognized Christ as present on that morning, an 
intense anxiety seized me as to whether every- 
thing in the ordering of his house was as he would 
have it. 



68 HOW CHRIST CAME TO CHURCH 

There was a choir in yonder gallery, employed 
at an expense of nearly three thousand dollars, to 
sing the praises of God in his church. Some of 
the number were believers ; the larger part made 
no profession of discipleship, and some were con- 
fessed disbelievers. But they had fine voices, 
therefore were they there. No word of criticism 
can be passed upon them, since they were serving 
solely by the appointment of the church. But 
when now the presence of Christ by the Holy 
Ghost was realized, the minister of the flock began 
to have pangs of indescribable misgiving about 
this way of administering the service of song. 
Had it not been a method long in vogue ? Yes. 
And did it not conform to the general usage of 
Christian congregations ? Yes. Then why have 
scruples about it ? There might have been none 
but for the presence of that revered man from 
heaven. But Christ has come to church : "and 
who may abide the day of his coming ? and who 
shall stand when he appeareth ? for he is like a 
refiner's fire and like fuller's soap." And the 
burning of that fire began from that day, and 
could never thenceforth be quenched : and the 
cleansing must now go on to the end. 

Does the Scripture deal in poetry or in fact 
when it says to the church, the body of behevers : 
• • Know ye not that ye are the temple of God and 
that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?" Into 
the inner court of that Jewish temple went the 



IN THY LIGHT 69 

high priest alone, once every year, " not without 
bloody Not the less rigidly was it required of 
the common priests who ' ' went into the first taber- 
nacle, accomplishing the service of God," that 
they should come first to the brazen altar of sacri- 
fice and then to the laver of cleansing in order to 
be qualified for their ministry. And these things 
happened for ensamples unto us. The types are 
as rigid and unchangeable in their teaching 
as mathematics. The altar and the laver ; the 
blood and the water : our justification by the cross 
and our sanctification by the Spirit — these two are 
absolutely prerequisite and their order is forever 
fixed. David under the old covenant sought for 
the true qualification of an acceptable worshiper 
when he prayed : "Purge me with hyssop and I 
shall be cleati ; wash me and I shall be whiter 
than snowy It was first the blood and then the 
water. The exhortation to the worshiper under the 
new covenant is precisely the same : " Let us draw 
near, . . . having our hearts sprinkled from an 
evil conscience and having our bodies washed 
with pure water'' (Heb. lo : 22). First cleans- 
ing by the blood, then sanctification by the 
Spirit. 

The congregation of the regenerate church now 
constitutes the earthly priesthood under Christ our 
great High Priest. He could not enter into the 
holiest in heaven except by his own blood ; no more 
can any one on earth perform the smallest service 



yo HOW CHRIST CAME TO CHURCH 

in the worship of his house — that " holy temple in 
the Lord, builded together for a habitation of God 
through the Spirit " — who has not been justified by 
the blood of Christ. This was the deep and abid- 
ing conviction which seized one minister of Christ 
as his eyes were opened by the coming of the Lord 
to search his sanctuary. And then followed unut- 
terable distress of conscience about this whole 
grave question. There were those singers standing 
above the communion table, leading a divinely 
appointed ministry of song. And yet the question 
had never been asked whether they had come under 
the cleansing of the blood of Christ and the renew- 
ing of the Holy Spirit ; only whether they had fine 
voices, well trained and harmonious. The situation 
brought such burden of soul that sometimes the 
whole service — the prayer, the praise, the sermon 
— was gone through with under indescribable con- 
straint and spiritual repression. When the mind 
of Christ was sought for in the matter, his voice 
was heard saying : " God is a Spirit, and they that 
worship him must worship in spirit and i7t truths 
Half the stanzas sung in an ordinary service are 
such that unconverted persons could not possibly 
sing them in truth, and none of them could they 
sing in "the Spirit." Then came the habit 
of searching for hymns more neutral and more 
remote from Christian experience, lest I should be 
the occasion of causing any to speak falsely in 
God's presence. And more than all, came what 



IN THY LIGHT Jl 

may be called a corporate conviction, a taking of 
blame on behalf of the whole church concerning 
this matter. For plainly the sin seemed nothing 
else than simony. The Lord has appointed the 
Holy Ghost to be the inspirer and director of 
sacred song in his temple: "Be filled with the 
Spirit, speaking one to another in psalms and 
hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making 
melody with your heart to the Lord " (Eph. 5:18, 
19, R. v.). This delight of sacred song is greatly 
coveted ; and they who have wealth say, "We 
will give you three thousand dollars that you may 
buy this gift of the Holy Ghost, and may bring in 
singing men and singing women, the best that can 
be procured, that the attractions of our sanctuary 
may not be a whit behind the chiefest in all the 
city." And it seemed to me that the voice of the 
Spirit concerning it all would be: " Thy money 
perish with thee, because thou hast thought 
that the gift of God may be purchased with 
money." 

Then in thought the vision came back, and 
yonder silent Christ seemed to speak : " Reach 
hither thy finger and behold my hands ; and 
reach hither thy hand and thrust it into my side." 
And while we wondered he reasoned with us 
saying: "Who think ye that I am, oh, my 
brethren ? And wherefore came I unto that 
hour when my soul was exceeding sorrowful, even 
unto death ? ' ' Was it that you might live deli- 



72 HOW CHRIST CAME TO CHURCH 

cately and bring in the minstrels to perform before 
you in my house ? Behold they that live deli- 
cately are in king's courts ; but ye are they whom 
I have appointed to bear the cross and to fill up 
that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ for 
his body's sake, which is the church. " The sac- 
rifice of praise, even tJte fruit of the lips,'' have I 
enjoined upon you ; but the luxury of sumptuous 
music, who has required it at your hands ? Where- 
fore do ye spend your money for that which is not 
bread, when millions are perishing for the bread 
of life which I have commanded you to bring 
them ; and I still wait to see of the travail of my 
soul and be satisfied ? 

As I heard all this the whole heart became 
sick. I thought of churches which were bestowing 
ten times, and in some instances fifty times as 
much for artistic music as they contributed to for- 
eign missions, and I said : " We are believers by 
the cleansing of the blood and by the indwelling 
of the Spirit ; have been constituted ' a spiritual 
house, an holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sac- 
rifices '/ but instead of using our ministry in hum- 
ble dependence on the Holy Ghost, we have 
brought up minstrels from Egypt, that ' music 
with its voluptuous swell ' may take the place of 
that chastened, self-denying, holy song which 
no man can learn but they that have been 
redeemed." 

And out of this storm of questioning and mis- 



IN THY LIGHT 73 

giving, and all this deep inquisition of conscience, 
there arose at last one of the calmest, maturesr, 
and most unconquerable convictions of my life. 
I could never in any circumstance accept a min- 
istry where the worship appointed by God has 
been so perverted by men. Not in the language 
of metaphor or of poetry, but in the words of 
literal truth I hear God saying : ''For the teinple 
of God is holy, which temple ye are.'' When I 
can consent to have the communion table moved 
out into the court of the Gentiles, and call upon 
the thoughtless and unconverted to receive the 
sacred elements lying thereon, then I may see the 
propriety of bringing a choir of unregenerated 
musical artists into the Holy of Holies of the 
church, and of committing to their direction the 
service of song. This conviction rests neither 
upon prejudice nor preference, but upon the fixed 
assurance that in the house of God I am servant, 
not the master, and that I have no alternative but 
to comply strictly with the divine arrangements of 
the church fixed by the Lord himself. 

When I had written all this I imagined I heard 
some reader exclaiming : "Is not this a Pharisee 
of the Pharisees risen up within the Christian 
church, and tithing the mint, anise and cummin 
of religious worship ? Is there really any ground 
for his scruples, or anything practical in his 
suggestions ? ' ' Let this appear in later chapters. 




VI 



THE TEMPLE OF GOD IS HOLY 

RECALL a sermon by President Way- 
land, preached while I was a student, 
in which he spoke thus, in brief, about 
amusements: "You ask me if it is sinful for 
Christians to play cards. Well, you remember 
that the Roman soldiers threw dice and cast lots 
while our Saviour was dying on the cross. But 
you as his disciples, had you been present, could 
not have taken part in that game of chance. 
And why should you do so now before whose eyes 
Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth crucified 
among you ? " 

It was a practical and pointed way of setting 
forth a great principle. The church, which has 
journeyed on for nearly nineteen hundred years, 
has never left the crucified Christ behind. I make 
no reference here to a material sanctuary with the 
cross and passion, — symbols wrought into its eccle- 
siastical architecture, — but to that " holy temple 
in the Lord ' ' in which we are ' ' builded together 
for a habitation of God through the Spirit." It is 
in this house that we stand during the entire dis- 



THE TEMPLE OF GOD IS HOLY 75 

cussion. As we mark on every hand its divine 
architecture, we observe that the cross is inwrought 
with each article of its furniture. In the ordinance 
through which we enter the temple, we are 
''baptized into his death.'''' In the communion 
which we keep perpetually within its courts, we 
" do show the Lord' s death till he corned In the 
pulpit where the gospel is proclaimed, " we preach 
Christ crucified, the power of God and the wisdom 
of God." In the songs which we sing we offer 
*' the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that 
is the fruit of our lips." Thus the crucified One 
is visible in every service and sacrament of his 
temple. That solemn stranger in yonder pew did 
not "cry nor lift up nor cause his voice to be 
heard " in his temple ; for in each act of worship 
he had ordained that his word should be heard, 
saying : "I am he that liveth and was dead, and 
behold I am alive for evermore." 

Once standing within this holy temple of the 
church a great apostle wept because " the enemies 
of the cross of Christ " had come in thither (Phil. 
3 : 18, 19). Who were they ? Heretics, who had 
denied the atonement and effaced Christ crucified 
from their creed ? Apostates, who by their fall 
from grace had "crucified the Son of God 
afresh ' ' ? No ! They were worldlings who had 
defiled the temple by their unseemly self-indul- 
gences. And has the Lord no occasion to weep 
as he visits his church to-day ? And do his five 



'J^ HOW CHRIST CAME TO CHURCH 

bleeding wounds never plead in silent protest 
against what is done therein ? I speak not of the 
one congregation into which he came in vision on 
that memorable Sabbath morning. The encroach- 
ments of secularism had advanced quite far 
enough therein to give occasion for sincere regret 
at their remembrance. But they were slight 
in comparison with what we have witnessed 
elsewhere. 

' ' Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, 
and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you ? If 
any man defile the temple of God, hi?n shall God 
destroy ; for the temple of God is holy, which 
temple ye are'' (i Cor. 3 : 16, 17). We do not 
judge that the defilement here mentioned is that 
of personal impurity, in which one sins against 
his own body by the indulgence of fleshly lusts and 
passions. Though the words are often applied in 
this way there seems to be no good ground for 
so construing them. It is the corporate body 
which is spoken of, not the individual body ; and 
to defile the temple of God is to profane that tem- 
ple by bringing into its precincts idolatrous rights 
and ceremonies, secular and carnal indulgences, 
unsanctified amusements and frivilous entertain- 
ments to minister to "the lusts of the eyes, the 
lusts of the flesh, and the pride of life." Here we 
shall refer only to what we know as being carried 
on within the circle of Protestant and evangelical 
churches, confessing- as we do so, that it is a 



THE TEMPLE OF GOD IS HOLY 7/ 

shame even to speak of the things done by them in 
pubhc. Nevertheless we must look at the unseemly 
catalogue : Performers brought from the opera or 
from the theatre on Sunday to regale the ears of 
the church with some flighty song of artistic 
musical display ; a star vioHnist dressed in the 
style of his profession, preparing the way for the 
sermon by a brilliant and fantastic solo ; a curtain 
drawn across the pulpit platform on a week-night, 
footlights and scenery brought from the play-house, 
and a drama enacted by the young people of the 
church, ending with a dance by the gayly dressed 
children ; a comic reader filling the pulpit on 
Monday evening, delivering a caricature sermon 
amid the convulsive laughter and hand-clapping 
of the Christians present. These are but a few 
acts in the comedy which the god of this world is 
performing weekly in church assemblies. Taken 
with the dramatic readings, literary entertain- 
ments, amateur theatricals, fairs, frolics, festivals, 
and lotteries, the story is enough to make the 
angels of the churches blush, and to give fresh 
occasion for an apostle's tears while he utters the 
solemn verdict : " For many walk of whom I have 
told you often and now tell you even weeping, 
that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ ; 
whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, 
and whose glory is their shame, who mind earthly 
things." 

It is well known that certain insects conceal 



78 HOW CHRIST CAME TO CHURCH 

their presence by assuming the color of the tree or 
leaf on which they prey. Church amusements 
are simply parasites hiding under a religious 
exterior, while they eat out the life of Christianity. 
Sacred concerts, church fairs, ecclesiastical enter- 
tainments — how well the words sound in the ears 
of the unwary. But when the Lord appeared 
walking among the golden candlesticks with 
countenance like the sun shining in his strength, 
their real inwardness was instantly revealed. In 
the midst of the church entertainments, going on 
for the avowed purpose of winning the world into 
friendship with Christians ; on the walls of the 
same church, inscribed in letters of gold, were 
texts of Scripture which the " dim religious light " 
had so obscured that few seem to have read them : 
" If any man love the world, the love of the Father 
is not in him,'" and ''Know ye not that the friend- 
ship of the world is enmity to God? " When the 
Lord came in, these inscriptions began to gleam 
out with such a dazzling brightness as the window 
panes sometimes exhibit under the rays of the set- 
ting sun. Then a great horror of being implicated 
in so-called sacred amusements seized upon one 
who read these burnmg texts, so that once on 
entering a church where such frivolities were 
going on, he hastened from the house as the aged 
Apostle John in Ephesus is said to have fled from 
the bath on discovering that the heretic Cerinthus 
was present. 



THE TEMPLE OF GOD IS HOLY 79 

If any shall name such scruples phariseeism or 
religious prudery, then come g.nd let us reason 
together. Go into a Roman Catholic church and 
witness the services which are carried on there, 
and the question will at once arise, How is it 
possible that the simple spiritual worship of the 
primitive church could have degenerated into such 
a mass of grotesque ceremonials and idolatrous 
abominations as are here exhibited ? The answer 
is easily found on looking into history. For a 
while the church was content to occupy the place 
of holy separation from the world appointed her 
by the Lord — witnessing for Christ, working for 
Christ, waiting for Christ. This austere attitude 
gave offense to the heathen who had often desired 
to be friendly with the Christians, and were ready 
to tolerate their religion if only they would accord 
some slight token of respect to their own deities — 
a gesture of reverence or a grain of incense. 
But all this was rigidly withheld by the disciples of 
Christ. Not the smallest concession would they 
make to pagan customs ; not a shred would they 
incorporate into their worship from the heathen 
ceremonials ; and so long as they maintained this 
spirit, they went forth conquering and to conquer. 

Then, upon the enthronement of Constantine, 
the sentiment gradually changed, and the notion 
grew up that in order to convert the heathen it was 
necessary to conciliate them by conforming some- 
what to their customs. The great Augustine also 



8o HOW CHRIST CAME TO CHURCH 

fell under this delusion, and gave his countenance 
to the engrafting into Christian worship of usages 
borrowed from the heathen. He said: "When 
peace was made (between the emperors of Rome 
and the church) the crowd of Gentiles who were 
anxious to embrace Christianity were deterred by 
this, that whereas they had been accustomed to pass 
the holidays in drunkenness and feasting before 
their idols, they could not easily consent to forego 
these most pernicious yet ancient pleasures. // 
seejned good then to our leaders to favor this part of 
their weakness, and for those festivals which they 
had relinquished, to substitute others in honor of 
the holy martyrs, which they might celebrate with 
similar luxury, though not with the same 
impiety.^" Here is the door opened through 
which the whole troop of abominations entered — 
saint worship, idol worship, virgin worship — till 
in an incredibly short time the church, which had 
gone forth to Christianize the heathen, was found 
to have become herself completely paganized. 

The nineteenth century is presenting almost 
the exact facsimile of the fourth century in this 
particular. The notion having grown up that we 
must entertain men in order to win them to 
Christ, every invention for world-pleasing which 
human ingenuity can devise has been brought for- 
ward till the churches in multitudes of instances 
have been turned into play-houses, with theatre- 

1 Aug. " Epist.", p. 29. 



THE TEMPLE OF GOD IS HOLY 8 1 

boards announcing the courses for the gay season, 
boldly set up at the doors ; and there is hardly a 
carnal amusement that can be named, from bill- 
iards to dancing, which does not now find a nest- 
ing-place in Christian sanctuaries. Is it then 
phariseeism or pessimism to sound the note of 
alarm and to predict that at the present fearful 
rate of progress, the close of this decade may see 
the Protestant church as completely assimilated to 
nineteenth century secularism as the Roman 
Catholic church was assimilated to fourth century 
paganism ? 

And this is not all : the temple has been 
defiled. " For what agreement hath the temple 
of God with idols ; for ye are the temple of God : 
as God hath said, I will dwell in them and walk 
in them, and I will be their God and they shall be 
my people." Anything thrust into God's place is 
an idol. When, in 2 Thess. 2 : 3, 4, the culmi- 
nation of the predicted apostasy is described, it is 
said of "the man of sin," that " He as God sit- 
teth in the temple of God, showing himself that he 
is God." Here, I believe, we have a picture of 
the pope, thrusting himself into the seat of the 
Holy Spirit, assuming the title of "Vicar of 
Christ," which belongs only to that "other Para- 
clete " whom Jesus promised to send down to fill 
his place during his absence. This sin of unseat- 
ing the Holy Ghost in his own temple is so blas- 
phemous that its author has no forgiveness, but is 
6 



82 HOW CHRIST CAME TO CHURCH 

doomed to be destroyed "by the brightness of 
Christ's coming." And is there no danger that 
Protestantism may fall under the same guilt ? 
What if the Holy Spirit is ejected from the choir, 
and his office as inspirer of sacred song committed 
to a quartette of unconverted musical artists ? 
What if he be unseated from the pulpit and the 
intellectual discourse substituted for that preaching 
of the gospel ' ' with the Holy Ghost sent down 
from heaven ' ' which God has appointed ? What 
if he be set aside from the administration of the 
church, so that, for example, the settling of a pas- 
tor shall be made to turn on the votes of uncon- 
verted men called ' ' the society, ' ' when the Lord 
has spoken about ' ' the flock of God over which 
the Holy Ghost hath made yon overseers " f Is 
there no peril that by this constant unseating of 
the Spirit he may be finally driven from his sanc- 
tuary, repeating as he redres the solemn lament 
of the Saviour : ' ' Behold your house is left unto 
you desolate ' ' ? Wonderful indeed is the patience 
of the Comforter ! As the Lord Christ, when 
" there was no room for him in the inn," con- 
descended to lie in a manger, so the Lord, 
the Spirit, when crowded out of pulpit, and choir, 
and pew, and seat of authority, may retire into 
some obscure retreat of his church, — heart of 
humble saint or home of hidden disciple, — wait- 
ing patiently to be invited back to his rightful 
throne. 



THE TEMPLE OF GOD IS HOLY 83 

That he may, and sometimes does, finally with- 
draw from his temple, there can be no question. 
Do we not know of churches once fervently evan- 
gehcal which are now lying under the doom of 
desertion by the Spirit ? The writer thinks, with 
all charity, that he has seen such ; churches upon 
which the Lord's sentence has gone forth, " Thou 
hast a name that thou livest and art dead." The 
body may still remain indeed, the creeds and 
Confessions may continue intact, and the forms of 
worship may even be multiplied and vastly 
"enriched" as the years go on, but these out- 
ward forms are only memorials of a departed 
glory, like the death-mask which preserves the 
mold of features which have long since crumbled 
into dust. 

If any reader thinks that what v/e are saying 
is simply " exposition," we have to add that it is 
this and more ; it is experience, and every word 
is confirmed in the mouth of heart-witnesses 
and conscience-witnesses and church-witnesses. 
When an evangelist goes to a congregation to 
hold special services, and finds after a day or two 
that the whole membership is in a state of sus- 
pended animation, let him take a candle, as the 
Hebrews did on the eve of Passover, and let him 
diligently search the house for leaven. Let him 
go into the choir gallery and learn whether a 
quartette of unsanctified musicians is seated 
there ; let him then go into the vestry and inquire 



84 HOV/ CHRIST CAME TO CHURCH 

whether the winter's programme of church 
amusements is still proceeding. He may go far- 
ther, but the writer bears solemn witness that even 
these two obstructions have been found sufficient 
to bar the way to all success in revival effort. It 
is written and cannot, without infinite peril, be 
forgotten, that the church is " an holy temple in the 
Lord'' /that it is " bidlded together for an habita- 
tion of God in the Spirit ' ' / that ' ' the Lord is that 
Spirit,"" governing and administering therein 
with sovereign authority, and that only "where 
the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty." Except 
he has sanctified instruments in every part of the 
house, he cannot move through the assemblies in 
victorious freedom of service. 

Yet, so inveterate is the tendency to turn away 
from the Spirit and to listen to other voices, that 
" He that hath the seven Spirits of God," warns 
his church from heaven in a seven-fold admoni- 
tion repeated at the end of each succeeding chapter 
in her seven-fold apocalyptic history : " He that 
hath an ear let him hear what the Spirit saith unto 
the churches." 




VII 



CLEANSING THE TEMPLE 

HY not withdraw from the church which 
has become thus secularized and dese- 
crated ? To which we reply emphatic- 
ally : Until the Holy Spirit withdraws we are not 
called upon to do so. And he is infinitely patient, 
abiding still in his house so long as there are two 
or three who gather in Christ's name to constitute 
a templiim in templo, a sanctuary within a sanc- 
tuary, where he may find a home. 

What the lungs are to the air the church is to 
the Holy Spirit ; and each individual believer is 
like a cell in those lungs. If every cell is open 
and unobstructed the whole body is full of Hght ; 
but if through a sudden cold, congestion sets in, 
so that the larger number of these cells are closed, 
then the entire burden of breathing is thrown 
upon the few which remain unobstructed. With 
redoubled activity these now inhale and ex- 
hale the air, till convalescence shall return. 
So we strongly believe that a few Spirit-filled 
disciples are sufficient to save a church ; that 
the Holy Ghost, acting through these, can and 

8s 



86 HOW CHRIST CAME TO CHURCH 

does bring back recovery and health to the 
entire body. 

I saw no whip of small cords in the hands 
of that pilgrim-Christ who turned aside f^r a 
moment to visit our sanctuary on that ever-remem- 
bered Lord's Day morning. The time has not yet 
come for judging and punishing those who defile 
the temple of God. On the contrary, it seems as 
though I heard that gracious stranger say : 
"Behold, I stand at the door, and knock : if 
any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will 
come in to him, and will sup with him, and he 
with me." The throne-room of the church where 
he has ordained to rule his flock ; the choir-room 
where he would preside in the Holy Ghost as the 
inspirer of praise ; the pew-rooms into which he 
would have freedom of entrance, even when com- 
ing in the lowliest garb ; these he did not storm 
with violent anathemas, but gently solicited to 
open unto him. Woe to those who judge before 
the time ! who depart from their brethren, and 
slam that door behind them before which Jesus is 
gently knocking ; who spue the church out of their 
mouths while he, though rebuking it, still loves it 
and owns it and invites it to sup with him. 

" For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ 
Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and 
death, ' ' writes the apostle. This is the method of 
the Lord's present work — death overcome by life. 
" I cannot sweep the darkness out but I can shine 



CLEANSING THE TEMPLE 8/ 

it out," said John Newton. We cannot scourge 
dead works out of the church, but we can Hve 
them out. If we accuse the church with having 
the pneumonia let us who are individual air-cells 
in that church, breathe deeply and wait patiently 
and pray believingly, and one after another of the 
obstructed cells will open to the Spirit till conva- 
lescence is re-established in every part. 

With the deepest humility the writer here sets 
his seal of verifying experience. When the truth 
of the in-residence of the Spirit and of his pre- 
siding in the church of God became a hving con- 
viction, then began a constant magnifying of him 
in his offices. Several sermons were preached 
yearly setting forth the privileges and duties of 
Christians under his administration ; special sea- 
sons of daily prayer were set apart, extending 
sometimes over several weeks, during which con- 
tinual intercession was made for the power of the 
Holy Ghost. It was not so much prayer for par- 
ticular blessings as an effort to get into fellowship 
with the Spirit and to be brought into unreserved 
surrender to his life and acting. The circle of 
those thus praying was thus constantly enlarged. 
Then gradually, the result appeared in the whole 
church ; the incoming tide began to fill the bays 
and inlets, and as it did so the driftwood was dis- 
lodged and floated away. Ecclesiastical amuse- 
ments dropped off, not so much by the denuncia- 
tion of the pulpit, as by the displacement of the 



88 HOW CHRIST CAME TO CHURCH 

deepening life. The service of song was quietly- 
surrendered back to the congregation and, 
instead of the select choir, the church — who con- 
stitute the true Levites as well as the appointed 
priesthood of the New Dispensation — took up the 
sacrifice of praise anew and filled the house with 
their song. As noiselessly and irresistibly as the 
ascending sap displaces the dead leaves which 
have clung all winter long to the trees, so quietly 
did the incoming Spirit seem to crowd off the tra- 
ditional usages which had hindered our liberty. 
Later came the abolition of pew-rentals and the 
disuse of church sales for raising money for mis- 
sions and other charities. Meantime the pulpit 
acquired a liberty hitherto unknown ; the outward 
hampering being removed, the inward help 
became more and more apparent, and the preacher 
felt himself constantly drawn out instead of being 
perpetually repressed as in the olden time. The 
prayer meeting soon passed beyond the necessity 
of being " sustained " and became the most help- 
ful nourisher and sustainer of the church. The 
place is always filled, and instead of urging the 
people to come, or inviting them to participate, 
the attendance is joyfully voluntary, and the pray- 
ing and testifying always so spontaneous and 
hearty that one can scarce rememember when it 
has been found needful to urge Christians to the 
exercise of these privileges. 

It is by no means affirmed that the old leaven 



CLEANSING THE TEMPLE 89 

has been completely purged out, so that nothing of 
the secular and unspiritual remains in the temple 
of the Spirit where we worship. No ! If that 
Divine Visitant were to appear once more in 
yonder pew, and with those eyes which are like a 
flame of fire were to search our sanctuary, it pains 
me to think what he might discover, which has 
hitherto escaped our search. We are only speak- 
ing now of a comparative cleansing, deeply sen- 
sible of much, both known and unknown, which 
yet remains to be accomplished. 

But of the result thus far may we speak with- 
out glorying. Most apt is Dr. Bonar's story of 
the auctioneer, who was commending in glowing 
words a picture by one of the old masters, himself 
meanwhile standing behind the painting which he 
was selling, and allowing it to hide him from view. 
All that we are trying to do in this chapter is to 
magnify the work of an ' ' old master, ' ' the Gali- 
lean Carpenter, who only asked liberty to work 
among us that he might build "his own house; 
whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence 
and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end " 
(Heb. 3 : 6). Let his work appear unto his ser- 
vants, and let " the workers together with him " 
be hidden from view. 

I observed neither saw, hammer, nor plane in 
his hand when he came into yonder pew on that 
morning ; and though from that day he began to 
reconstruct the temple, ' ' there was neither ham- 



90 HOW CHRIST CAME TO CHURCH 

mer, nor axe, nor any tool of iron, heard in the 
house while it was building." All went on noise- 
lessly, so that now we wonder at the progress of 
the work. 

One freshly anointed was moved to undertake 
a mission to the Jews, among whom up to this 
time no systematic effort had been made ; the 
result — hundreds of Hebrews reached by the gos- 
pel, not a few converts won to Christ, and a 
Jewish missionary raised up for his people. 

Another brother was drawn out on behalf of 
the Chinese ; the result — a Chinese mission school 
of two hundred ; twenty-five now members of the 
church, and one of their number, a veritable 
apostle, now returned to his native land, to make 
known the gospel to his countrymen. 

A newly quickened disciple was drawn to the 
work of outdoor preaching ; the result — a band of 
young men and women raised up who have gone 
to wharves, car-stables, and public squares, with 
increasing devotion to this service, which has now 
gone on weekly for more than five years. 

Others were moved to enter into rescue work 
among ruined women ; the result — a home opened 
and now a far-reaching effort extending out and 
bringing Christians of all names into co-operation. 

An industrial home was instituted for intem- 
perate and unemployed men ; the result — a shelter 
in which thousands have found refuge, and converts 
have been won to Christ by hundreds. 



CLEANSING THE TEMPLE 9 1 

A training school for evangelists was opened, 
designed to equip men and women of humble 
attainments for Christian work at home and 
abroad ; the result — a score of foreign mission- 
aries sent out since the work began, four years 
ago ; and many more put forth into destitute fields 
at home, while a hundred and fifty are now under 
instruction. 

Meantime evangelistic efforts have reached out 
on every side, some "tens " of our brethren being 
entirely occupied in this work and as many more 
working in the foreign field. By spontaneous free- 
will giving the offerings to foreign missions have 
steadily increased, rising to ten thousand, to 
twelve thousand, and one year to twenty thousand 
dollars, as the annual contribution to this work. 
And this increase in giving was not the result of 
begging or dunning. Much prayer was made and 
the strongest evangelical motive urged in behalf 
of it. Meantime there has been a freshness and 
heartiness in our worship hitherto unknown. The 
Spirit has had liberty to break forth in song in 
unexpected ways now and then, as when a joyous 
young disciple going down to be baptized sang the 
strains of "My Jesus, I love thee, I know thou 
art mine," as he*- feet touched the water, all the 
congregation uniting with overpowering effect. 
What could that little quartette box have done 
like this ? 

So, likewise, there has been an open window 



92 HOW CHRIST CAME TO CHURCH 

into the sermon through which the Holy Ghost has 
come in with unexpected suggestions, fitted for 
the occasion. In a word, the law of liberty seems 
to have largely supplemented machinery and 
organization. And yet, be it noted, that even this 
record would not be committed to print save for 
one reason, viz., that it is recognized to be not a 
"work" but "his workmanship." Not one of 
these enterprises was planned beforehand, so that 
they could be credited to some superior organizer. 
They " grew up, he knoweth not how," who now 
tells the story. They are described after much 
hesitation, and with prolonged weighing of each 
statement, with the hope that they may bring home 
the suggestion to some who have not entertained 
it, that the Holy Ghost, the present Christ, has 
been given to be the administrator of the church ; 
and that in these days of endless organizatio7is a?id 
multiplied secular machinery, he will surprise us 
by showing what he will do if we will give him 
unhitidered liberty of action in his own house. 



PART III 

THE DREAM 
AS INTERPRETING THE MAN 




THE DREAM AS INTERPRETING THE MAN 

HE preceding spiritual autobiography is 
based upon a dream. This is not the 
first time that a dream has proved a 
potent factor in a human Hfe. Those who are 
familiar with the history of Catherine of Siena 
know how repeated and striking were her visions 
by day and by night ; and readers of the life of 
Richard Baxter will recall his marked experience, 
and that vivid vision of lost opportunities which 
so quickened his after activity. Christmas Evans, 
also, that prince of Welsh preachers, while yet only 
a young convert and on the very night succeeding 
the loss of one eye from the assault of ruffianly 
violence, had a remarkable dream. He thought 
that the awful day of judgment had come, and 
seeing the world wrapped in its winding sheet of 
flame, he cried out, with mingled terror and con- 
fidence, "Lord Jesus, save me!" Then he 
beheld the Master turn toward him, and heard him 
say : "It was thy intention to preach the gospel ; 
but it is now too late, for the day of judgment is 
already come." That vision of the darkness 



96 THE DREAM AS INTERPRETING THE MAN 

remained in the day so vivid a reality that the 
reflections which it awakened served to fan into a 
consuming flame of ardor and fervor his passion 
for souls. And he always believed that this and 
other dreams were God's messengers sent to com- 
municate to him some of the mightiest impulses 
that swayed his life. 

While, therefore, Dr. Gordon was not the first 
man, or preacher of the gospel, whose life, char- 
acter, and conduct have been singularly molded 
by a dream, he was careful to claim even for this 
remarkable and unique experience, no supernat- 
ural origin. 

" The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell 
a dream ; 

" And he that hath my word, let him speak my 
word faithfully. 

' 'What is the chaff to the wheat, saith the Lord. ' ' 

In strict conformity to this divine injunction, 
this dream is told, as such, without affirming for 
it, or even implying in it, any authority. Nor is 
any philosophy here suggested as to those strange 
vagaries of the spirit in the semi-conscious state 
of sleep, which seem to belong to the borderland 
between insanity and inspiration, and which, after 
all these centuries, remain still an unsolved 
mystery. Yet, in this instance as in many others, 
the fact remains obvious that God has used a 
dream to put into life a new meaning, and impart 
to holy activity a n.ew momentum. 



THE DREAM AS INTERPRETING THE MAN 97 

There is one important law of dreams which 
should, however, be recognized : they do sustain 
an important relation to the habitual inner life. 
Whether by way of correspondence or of contrast, 
they serve as a sort of reflection of the mental 
moods and spiritual habits. Such a dream as is 
here recorded is therefore an index and inter- 
preter of the man, and will bear careful study as a 
revelation of his inner self. 

Dreams, moreover, have this unique pecu- 
liarity, that they translate the historical into the 
poetical, the actual into the allegorical ; that is, 
they weave sensuous impressions or abstract ideas 
into concrete and often personal forms. The 
imagination, being no more restrained and cor- 
rected by the more practical senses, is left to itself 
to wander as it wall and build fantastic forms 
unchecked by the sober realistic reason. Hence 
such a dream as is here crystalized into a narra- 
tive, when divested of its purely imaginative and 
allegorical dress, becomes a valuable exponent of 
the author's inmost habits of thought and feeling. 
As such we shall now consider it, believing these 
mental habits to supply the most helpful sort of 
practical and biographical commentary upon the 
striking narrative which was the last product of 
Dr. Gordon's gifted pen, and which forms the last 
legacy of this holy man and prince among 
preachers to the church of his generation. 

The dream centers about the personal coming 



98 THE DREAM AS INTERPRETING THE MAN 

of Christ to his own church, his reception there, 
the character of the worship he confronted, the 
fideUty of the gospel message he heard, the spirit- 
ual attitude of the hearers whom he met, and his 
general approval or disapproval of the whole 
atmosphere of the place of prayer ; and espec- 
ially the measure of his recognition of the invisi- 
ble presence and presidence of the Holy Spirit in 
the body of Christ. Who that knew Adoniram 
Judson Gordon needs to be told that such a dream 
is not a mere incoherent and senseless vagary of 
the mind, for it invests with poetic and allegorical 
form the ruling ideas and ideals of his whole 
later life, which may be classified somewhat as 
follows : 

1. Loyalty to the person of Christ as Son of 
God and his own Saviour. 

2. The blessed hope of his personal coming, 
as an imminent event. 

3. The high vocation of the preacher as Christ's 
herald, witness, and ambassador. 

4. The purity of worship as the exaltation of 
God alone in his sanctuary. 

5. The supreme authority of the inspired and 
infallible word of God. 

6. The conformity of entire church life to a 
biblical pattern. 

7. The invisible presence and power of the 
Holy Spirit in the church as his temple and seat 
of administration. 



THE DREAM AS INTERPRETING THE MAN 99 

To present these conceptions in their order, 
somewhat as they lay in Dr. Gordon's mind, and 
with impartial faithfulness, will be the simple pur- 
pose and purport of what follows ; and it is our 
hope that, in so doing, thei e may be presented a 
commentary on this dream ; and, what is even 
more valuable, an outline portrait, at least, of the 
man who is to be recognized as among the richest 
gifts bestowed by the Father of us all upon the 
church of this illustrious century ; and whose 
character and influence, all who best knew him 
desire to perpetuate and reproduce in the history 
now making for the august future. 



744426 



LOYALTY TO THE PERSON OF CHRIST 



O a little deeper and you'll find the 
emperor," said the wounded soldier of 
Napoleon's bodyguard, to the surgeon 
probing for the ball. And in the deepest soul of 
Dr. Gordon was the shrine of the personal Christ. 
The genius of his whole godliness was found in 
this personal bond. He was jealous of truth of 
which all sound doctrine is the crystallization, and 
all true life the incarnation ; but to him the living 
Christ was the Truth, and no mere creed could 
satisfy the soul that longed for a person to believe 
and love ; and error was repugnant mainly 
because it meant a denial, or at least a dishonor, 
of Christ the divine Teacher. 

This personal center of the gospel and of the 
new life explains all that is otherwise mysterious 
about this man of God. His conversion was his 
turning toward Christ as his Saviour and Lord. 
He believed the message that God gave of his 
Son, that in him is life everlasting, and that whoso- 
ever believeth in him shall not perish, nor come 
into judgment, but is passed from death unto life. 

lOO 



LOYALTY TO THE PERSON OF CHRIST lOI 

If he was not troubled with doubts about his own 
salvation, it was because he had learned, once for 
all, that the ground of hope is not internal, but 
external ; not within us, but without us ; not in 
any merit or works or feelings of our own, but in 
the perfect obedience and vicarious suffering of 
our great Substitute and Saviour. Instead of try- 
ing, he found peace in trusting, looking away to 
Jesus, as the Author and Perfecter of his faith. 

It was said of Matthew Henry that, " when he 
lacked the faith of assurance, he lived by the faith 
of adherence." He, of whom we write, talked 
little of the assurance of faith, yet he never 
seemed to be darkened by doubt, because he 
walked in the light by the faith of adherence, 
which became to him the faith of assurance by 
unconscious transfer. When the hand has hold 
of another's hand, it is hard to doubt that other's 
presence ; and if we thought less of our own 
assurance, and looked more to the mainten- 
ance of an assured and uninterrupted fellowship 
with a personal Saviour, we should know that we 
are in him and he in us by the Spirit which he 
hath given us, and by the constant and conscious 
touch of holy contact. 

There is such a thing as Isaac Taylor, in one 
of his chapters on "Holy Living," calls the 
" Practice of the Presence of God." " Lo, I am 
with you always, even unto the end of the age," 
says the omnipresent Master ; and there is no 



I02 THE DREAM AS INTERPRETING THE MAN 

greater need than that this presence shall be recog- 
nized and felt. It cannot be detected by the 
physical senses, for it is not a sensible fact. But, 
to him who cultivates the sensibility to the unseen 
and exercises his inner senses to discern good and 
evil, the reality of the presence of Christ may 
become as indisputable as anything demonstrable 
by the bodily organs. 

Such communion with a personal Christ assim- 
ilates character to his likeness. " Beholding as 
in a glass the glory of the Lord, we are changed 
into the same image from glory to glory." 

The rapid transformation of Dr. Gordon into 
the resemblance of Christ was patent to all 
observers, most of all to those who most closely 
observed him and best knew him. In the home, 
where it is most difficult to show piety, his piety 
not only was shown but it shone. Nearness of 
approach often dissipates the charm that invests 
others ; but no one felt such absolute confidence 
in his genuineness and godliness as those who had 
most chance to detect the faults and the blemishes 
in his character. 

Our Brother Gordon combined the Pauline and 
the Johannean temperaments in one, the active 
and the reflective ; the combination is rare, and 
implies an equally rare type of character. Again, 
he blended to an unusual degree the intellectual 
and the afifectional. Most men whose minds are 
so intense as his, lack heart-qualities ; they 



LOYALTY TO THE PERSON OF CHRIST I03 

impress others as cold, giving out light but not 
heat, and so having little drawing power. This 
man beamed with the warmth of sunshine. You 
could bask in hi3 rays. There was about him a 
benignity, a benevolence, that compelled recogni- 
tion. Much as he was admired, he was most 
of all loved. 

All this was a result of the intense love he bore 
to the person of Christ. Had he simply studied 
Christianity as a system of truth, he might have 
been a righteous man, exhibiting a cold conformity 
to righteousness, as a marble statue, rigidly sym- 
metrical and frigidly exact, conforms to the stand- 
ards of art. But it was only when, penetrating 
beyond all mere doctrine, he found the person of 
Christ and fixed on him his gaze of adoring love, 
that he became the good man, and, like his Master, 
went about doing good, attracting to himself such 
devotion that for him hundreds would even have 
dared to die. 

This generation has furnished no other man, 
personally known to me, who in these respects so 
resembled Dr. Gordon, as did Theodor Christlieb, 
of Bonn. Born in 1833 and dying in 1889, in 
his fifty-seventh year, his life had run over almost 
the same length of time and cycle of history, and 
his views of truth were strikingly like those of his 
American contemporary, even to such minute 
matters as divine healing and the Lord's coming ; 
and, like his American brother, he could say at 



I04 THE DREAM AS INTERPRETING THE MAN 

the last, " I have not for an instant ever had the 
slightest doubt that I am an accepted sinner, and, 
if I have to take leave of all else, I shall never 
have to part from thee, my Saviour." Christlieb 
also sought to train students for the work of evan- 
gehsm, and had the keenest interest in missions, 
as his well-known book on the subject attests. 
He was the opponent of rationalistic criticism, 
affirming that the one key to the word of God is 
not found in commentaries nor in the study of the 
original text, but can be given only by the Holy 
Spirit of God in answer to prayer. He, like Dr. 
Gordon, revered the pietists who had kept alive 
the slumbering embers of piety and missions amid 
the deadness of almost universal rationalism and 
skepticism. But most of all did these two men 
resemble each other in the blending of the active 
temperament of Paul with the reflective tempera- 
ment of John, and in that intense loyalty to the 
person of Christ which made all other attrac- 
tions fade and pale in his presence, as the stars 
retire at dawning of the day. 

To a man, whose central passion was thus 
absorbed on the Christ of God, and who was accus- 
tomed to put Jesus before him in daily life, as the 
engrossing object of enamoring love, the standard 
of all excellence, the model for all imitation, the 
final Judge whose approval is the only verdict 
to be valued, it is not strange that a dream 
should crystallize about his divine Lord, and 



LOYALTY TO THE PERSON OF CHRIST I05 

that the supreme question which that dream 
suggested was, ' ' What would Christ say if he 
came to church ? ' ' 




II 

THE PERSONAL COMING OF CHRIST 

HERE are three mountain peaks in the 
landscape of biblical history and proph- 
ecy, and each represents an advent. 
First, the advent of the first Adam, in the crea- 
tion ; secondly, the advent of the Second Adam, 
in his incarnation ; and thirdly, the second advent 
of the Son of Man and Son of God, at his final 
revelation. Each of these peaks presents a double 
prominence ; for the creation of man is associ- 
ated with his fall, the incarnation of Christ with 
his death, and the second coming of Christ with 
his reign. 

Between the first and second of these advents, 
stands one simple object, an altar of sacrifice 
fronting both ways and linking the two : for every 
victim that bled and burned on the altar pointed 
backward to the sin of Adam and forward to the 
coming Lamb of God. And between the second 
and third of these advents, the incarnation and the 
final revelation of Christ, stands likewise one sim- 
ple object — the Table of the Lord, that likewise 
points both ways and links the two : for, "As 



THE PERSONAL COMING OF CHRIST lO/ 

often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye 
do shew the Lord" s death till he come.''' 

There is something very beautiful about the 
simple faith that accepts the mystery of biblical 
teaching without hesitation, even where it defies 
penetration and explanation. Dr. Gordon was 
one of the giants of his day. Few men have 
minds more colossal in stature and more Titanic 
in grasp. Yet he bowed meekly to Scripture 
teaching, even where reason could not explore. 
The doctrine of the Lord's second coming, with 
the august events attendant upon it, such as the 
first resurrection of the sleeping saints and the 
rapture of living saints, the development and 
destruction of antichrist, the conversion of the 
Jews and the personal reign of the Son of God, 
the apostasy of the church, etc., presented to his 
mind difficulties and even discrepancies which his 
reason could neither unravel nor reconcile. But, 
having satisfied himself that the Bible is the word 
of God, he had no further question than this : 
What does the Bible teach ? And as he found 
this truth lying on the very surface of the word of 
God, it would have been an irreverent rationalism 
either to refuse to receive it or to attempt by a 
tortuous exegesis to explain it away. 

Inseparable from this biblical authority and 
prominence of this truth was its naturalness, as 
the completion and consummation of the divine 
plan. There is an unpublished and probably 



Io8 THE DREAM AS INTERPRETING THE MAN 

unwritten lecture of Dr. Gordon's, on the "Plan 
of the Ages," which those who heard it regard as 
one of the most masterly products of his study 
of the word, and in which he set forth the divine 
teaching as to the providential purpose exhibited 
in the course of history. In the Epistle to the 
Hebrews we find the grand conception that God 
made the "time worlds" (nluva) as he did the 
matter worlds, and framed them together like the 
joints of a body or the beams of a house ; in this 
study of the ages Dr. Gordon carefully traced the 
teaching of the word of God as to these suc- 
cessive periods of history. He divided them into 
three : the Age of Preparation, the present Gos- 
pel Age of Ingathering, and the Age of Consum- 
mation ; or the age before Christ, the age from 
his first to his second coming, and the millennial 
age. In a marvelous way he then proceeded to 
show how all prophecies, precepts, and other 
teachings of the word fall into their appropriate 
place when their relations to these three ages are 
understood ; how countless difficulties are relieved 
and countless errors avoided, so soon as God's 
plans are rightly conceived. With the skill of a 
master, he then showed how, the moment that 
which is characteristic of the preparatory legal 
and Jewish age is imported into the gospel age, or 
what belongs in this present evil age is transferred 
over into the age to come, or reversely, we turn 
cosmos into chaos, and get everything out of 



THE PERSONAL COMING OF CHRIST IC9 

order into confusion. A very intelligent hearer 
remarked, after a delivery of this grand address : 
' ' Why you have just found a pigeon-hole for every 
text,'' and this well describes the practical effect 
of this study of the dispensational history of 
redemption. To Dr. Gordon the whole subject 
of the Lord's coming, however mysterious, seemed 
only the most natural event possible as the con- 
clusion and consummation of the plan and history 
of redemption. The advent of man to this globe 
was also the signal for the disaster of sin and the 
ruin of the race. To repair this ruin the 
Redeemer came, but in disguise. It can now be 
seen that such disguise was essential to his mission, 
for had he come otherwise, he could not have 
accomplished his holy errand. Humiliation was 
necessary in order to vicarious atonement, for the 
Second Adam must be identified with the sin, 
sorrow, and misery of the race. He must be born 
of a woman, made under the law, "a man of 
sorrows and acquainted with grief." He must by 
his poverty and obscurity be identified with the 
lowest and the least, else how could he represent 
humanity as such ; he must be made sin for us, 
and suffer as a malefactor. All this implied an 
emptying of self — a making himself of no reputa- 
tion, an obedience unto death. But surely this 
cannot be the end, the final manifestation of the 
Son of God. And so the word of God plainly 
reveals another advent, not in shame but in glory, 



no THE DREAM AS INTERPRETING THE MAN 

not in disguise but in his essential investment, as 
the King of kings, with his proper royal retinue — 
the natural necessary consummation of the divine 
drama, the true revelation of the Son of God. 

And the " blessed hope " has thus the highest 
prominence in the Scripture ; it is revealed as the 
golden milestone toward which all events point 
and all roads tend. All good waits to find in his 
second appearing, his true epiphany, its comple- 
tion and consummation. All that is best in human 
history is but the foretaste or first-fruits of which 
this is to be the harvest. The conquest of sin, 
now individual and occasional and exceptional, 
is then to be general, wide-spread, and final. 
Now, Satan, though resisted by saints, is yet at 
large working disaster to the race ; then, he is to 
be bound and finally burned — consigned to the 
lake of fire. The Holy Spirit, now shed abun- 
dantly on believers, is to be poured out on all 
flesh. Evangelism, now like a river, with many 
little rills that reach far into the deserts and here 
and there turn wastes into gardens, shall then 
cover the earth with a flood as the sea does its 
bed. Now we see the outgathering of the elect 
from all nations : God visiting the Gentiles to take 
out of them a people for his name : then the very 
kingdoms of this world are to become the kingdom 
of the Lord Christ. 

Christ's coming is to introduce events and 
developments of almost unprecedented character. 



THE PERSONAL COMING OF CHRIST III 

such as the resurrection of sleeping saints, the res- 
toration of Israel, the universal exaltation of God's 
anointed King, the final triumph of godhness, the 
judgment of God's enemies, and the reward of his 
servants. 

Surely if the Bible did not reveal this as the 
ultimate outcome of the great historic ages, it 
would seem the most consistent and natural cul- 
mination and consummation of the redemptive 
scheme. This is the ' ' blessed hope ' ' toward which 
for many years our departed brother looked with 
unspeakable longing as the crown of all other hopes. 

That which pre-eminently marks the Scripture 
teaching as to our Lord's second coming, is its 
inwiinence, or the combination of certainty at 
some time with uncertainty at what time. And 
our Lord himself made this imminence the main 
incentive to vigilance and diligence: "Watch, 
therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the 
hour wherein the Son of man cometh." To refer 
this to death is to violate the simplest laws of 
exegesis and upset the whole science of hermen- 
eutics. Such, and similar expressions can refer 
to nothing less than the personal return of the Son 
of Man, to assume the sceptre and mount the 
throne toward which all prophecy and promise 
look. And as Dr. Gordon often said, there is not 
a virtue or grace in the whole circle or chorus of 
Christian attainments that is not in the Scripture 
connected expressly with this blessed hope. 



112 THE DREAM AS INTERPRETING THE MAN 

This dream, therefore, not unnaturally pictures 
the Son of Man as coming suddenly to his temple 
— unexpectedly appearing in the midst of his people 
to test, as with refiner's fire, the service of his 
saints, as to whether or not it is an offering in 
riehteousness. 




Ill 



THE SACREDNESS OF THE PREACHER S VOCATION 

HERE is one calling which especially 
deserves the name of the "High call- 
ing of God in Christ Jesus," namely, 
that of the preacher of the gospel. He who, from 
this divine vocation, goes into any other, though 
it be to occupy the throne of a world empire, steps 
down to a lower level. The piety and purity of a 
Christian community will therefore be found to be 
in exact proportion to the intelligent respect and 
reverence in which the office of the minister of 
Christ is held, and by which it is magnified. 

Paul to the Ephesian elders,^ gives the five-fold 
aspect of this office of the preacher and teacher : 
First, it is a ministry of the Lord Jesus, of whom 
he is a disciple and ambassador ; secondly, it is a 
ministry of the gospel of the grace of God, of which 
he is a herald and witness ; third, it is a ministry 
of the kingdom of God, in which he is a subject 
and representative ; fourth, it is a ministry of the 
church of God, in which he is a servant and shep- 

1 Acts 20: 24-28. 
8 113 



114 THE DREAM AS INTERPRETING THE MAN 

herd ; fifth, a ministry of the Holy Ghost, of whom 
he is an ensample, and overseer or bishop. 

To Dr. Gordon the holy vocation was thus 
invested with this manifold opportunity and obli- 
gation, exalted privilege and commensurate 
responsibility. To fulfile these high functions, 
three things were pre-eminently needful : that the 
word of Christ should dwell in him richly, that 
Christ himself should abide in him, and that he 
should be filled with the Spirit. Hence he sought 
to know the word thoroughly as his text-book, to 
know Christ as his personal Saviour, and to know 
the Holy Spirit as his indwelling Guide. 

He was, as became a preacher of the word, a 
man of clear and firm convictions. If physiog- 
nomy is any index of character, there was no 
mistaking the meaning of that large head, high, 
broad brow, firmly set lower jaw. It needed no 
exceptionally keen observer to detect and predict 
the intellectual capacity, intelligent habit, and 
courageous conviction, of which such signs were 
hung out by nature herself. And the signs were 
not misleading, for he lacked neither mental 
power, nor clear vision of truth, and tenacious 
hold upon it. 

But this devout man of God had learned that 
it is not enough that one hold the truth, if the 
truth hold not him. " Teneo et Teneor.'" How 
grand the significance of the metaphor in the 
Epistle to the Ephesians, which represents truth 



THE PREACHERS VOCATION II5 

as the girdle of the warrior Christian — the very- 
zone that, grasping the vital parts, holds all the 
other pieces of armor in place ! But let us not 
lose sight of the fact that the minister of Christ 
must also know his Master, the living Word. 

Thackeray sagaciously hints that there is a law 
of spiritual harvest ; we sow a thought and reap 
an act ; sow an act and reap a habit ; sow a habit 
and reap a character ; sow a character and reap 
a destiny. A character like that of Dr. Gordon is 
a whole history brought to light ; it tells of habits 
of life, of thought as well as conduct, of a secret 
communion with God in the closet which shows its 
fruit and has its reward openly. Charles Lamb 
satirizes the man who vainly persuades himself 
that he can eat garlic in secret and not smell of it 
pubHcly. No man can walk with God in secret 
and cultivate the acquaintance of the unseen 
Christ, without character becoming radiant, until 
even his face will shine though he knows it not. 
Hence a minister is not only to be a herald but a 
witness. He is to tell what he knows, testify to 
that which he has tested and proved by testing, 
and, because experience limits his testimony, he 
must aim at a constantly richer and deeper 
experience in order to a witness correspondingly 
convincing and persuading. 

How long will it take us to learn that power in 
service hangs on the height and breadth of attain- 
ment in divine things ? A minister of Christ must 



ii6the dream as interpreting the man 

be like a mountain, soaring high Godward into 
realms of unclouded faith and serene communion ; 
for the higher his level, the surer and ampler the 
blessing he receives and conveys. The rains 
touch first the hilltops, and thence flow to the 
plains beneath, and the broader the hilltops the 
fuller and farther the flood. How can a congrega- 
tion get a rich blessing from a pastor who does 
not live on a high level ? I'he pastorates which 
have been most widely useful prove beyond doubt 
that he who, in the holy office, aspires to power, 
intense, extensive, pervasive, permanent, must 
first of all live close to God, and touch the very 
heart of Christ. He must hear by the ear in the 
closet what he is to proclaim with the tongue from 
the housetops. The higher the altitude, the richer 
the quality of the life and the life-imparting power. 
Fellowship with God is not to be sought only as a 
means to an end, for it is itself the end to which 
all means must contribute ; but, when it is so 
sought and cultivated for its own sake and so 
found and felt as a fact of consciousness, he who 
enjoys such fellowship becomes the fountain of 
untold blessing to the church and the world. 

Andrew Bonar, of Glasgow, shortly before his 
death, recorded this precious testimony: that from 
the time of his conversion, sixty years before, he 
had not passed a day when he lost access to the 
mercy-seat. Is it strange if he felt the power of 
Christ, as Paul said, canopying him, like the cur- 



THE PREACHERS VOCATION II/ 

tains of a tent ? ^ The man who thus lives daily 
with God and in God, must live by faith. At such 
habitual heights, clouds and mists are left below, 
and the soul dwells in a clear atmosphere. How 
many soever the promises of God, they are all in 
Christ, yea, and through him, amen, subject to no 
discount, but like any sound financial paper, good 
for the full face value. 

Our Brother Gordon likewise received, by a 
definite act of submission and appropriation, as 
he said to a few intimate friends, the Holy Spirit 
as his guide. 

If any wondered at the simple trust which led 
him to attempt great things for God and expect 
great things from God, to undertake missions to 
Jews and Gentiles, drunkards and outcasts ; to 
build up a training school for evangelists and mis- 
sionaries, and venture on God for the supply of 
every need, and, like Pastor Gossner at sixty years 
of age, stop ringing human door bells and knock 
only at heaven's gate — the solution is simple : all 
this mystery is unlocked by this one key — an 
elevated Hfe of godliness, which can be under- 
stood by none who hve on a low level, and a 
complete surrender to the Holy Spirit to be only 
a passive instrument in his hands. Dr. Gordon 
lived near enough to God to catch his own Spirit, 
which is love, unselfish, self-imparting love — that 
"royal law," or principle of life, nobler than any 



iiSthe dream as interpreting the man 

mere emotion or affection — which gives, gives all, 
and gives to all. Hence he not only preached the 
gospel to all he could reach, but he was essentially 
a missionary, for the Spirit of Christ is the spirit 
of missions. Foreign missions took passionate 
hold upon him because, like the love of God, they 
reach out toward those most distant and most des- 
titute. His interest in the heathen, so far off, so 
needy, was largely involuntary. Because he was 
led of the Spirit and taught of the Spirit, he loved 
as God loves, and could no more limit his benev- 
olent affection or beneficent activity to those near 
by him, than a full mountain stream could deter- 
mine to flow only so far. If there is but Httle 
water that fact sets a bound beyond which the 
stream cannot pass ; but the fuller and mightier 
the current, the broader the channel and the 
farther the onflow. Imagine the sun bidding his 
own beams bless only the nearest planets, and let 
Uranus and Neptune be bound in eternal night 
and ice ! A Holy Ghost man never bounds his 
own effort by narrow limits, or by any limits. 
Rivers of living water flow from him and rays of 
divine light emanate from him, and to both there 
is no limit but the limits of human need. 

The ambassador of Christ is so identified with 
his Sovereign that he may not only ask but claim 
his promised presence. 

It is said by Williams of Wern, of Gryffyth, the 
Welsh preacher, that having to preach one night 



THE PREACHERS VOCATION I I9 

he asked to be allowed to withdraw for a time 
before the service began, and remained so long 
that the good man of the house felt constrained to 
send his servant to request him to come and meet 
the waiting congregation. As she came near the 
room she heard what seemed to be an indication 
of conversation between two parties, and, though 
in a subdued tone of voice, she caught the words : 
"/will not go unless you come with me." She 
returned and reported to her master : " I do not 
think Mr. Gryffyth will come to-night ; some one 
is there with him, and I heard him say that he will 
not come unless the other will come also, but I 
did not hear the other reply, and so I think Mr. 
Gryffyth will not come either." The farmer, 
understanding the true case, replied: "Yes, he 
will come and I warrant the other will come too, 
if matters are as you say between them ; but we 
would better begin singing and reading until the 
two do come." And sure enough when Gryffyth 
made his appearance there was another who came 
with him, came with him in power, and that 
proved a pentecostal meeting when many found 
newness of life. 

The ambassador of Christ has a right to insist 
reverently on Jiis sovereign Master's unseen pres- 
ence and manifested power. How significant that 
prayer in the assembly of the early church, when, 
going out from the threatening council to their 
own company, the apostles with one accord 



I20 THE DREAM AS INTERPRETING THE MAN 

besought God: "And now, Lord, behold their 
threatenings : and grant unto thy servants, that 
with all boldness they may speak thy word, by 
stretching forth thine hand to heal ; and that signs 
and wonders may be done by the name of thy 
holy child Jesus" !^ Nothing takes away bold- 
ness in testimony to the Lord like the lack of his 
co-witness in his mighty works. He loves the 
reverent confidence that says, "I will not go 
unless thou go with me." If we are about our 
Father's business, we have a right to say : " And 
he that sent me is with me." 

1 Acts 4 : 29, 30. 




IV 



JEALOUSY FOR DIVINE WORSHIP 

AUL gives three marks of the true ' ' cir- 
cumcision ' ' ; and the first of all is this : 
the worship of God in the Spirit.^ 

These are days of especial peril from ritualism 
and formalism. This, which is the leaven of the 
Pharisees, is perhaps as dangerous as the leaven 
of the Sadducees, which is rationalism, or of the 
Herodians, which is secularism. Whenever, in 
the ages of church history, spiritual worship has 
decHned, a formal devotion or at best a devout 
formalism has taken its place, and the forms of 
worship have multiplied in direct proportion to the 
lack of spirituality in worship. And so there are 
many who live close to God to whom the modern 
multiplication of ceremonies and rites is an utter 
absurdity. 

An aged and venerable clergyman of the 
Anglican church, importuned by his son — who 
had run off into the extreme of a Romanizing 
ritualism — to preach in his "chapel of ease," at 
last reluctantly consented, but startled the congre- 

^ Phil. 3 : 3. 



122 THE DREAM AS INTERPRETING THE MAN 

gation by announcing as his text, "Lord, have 
mercy upon my son, for he is a lunatic," and then 
proceeded to show the utter lunacy of modern 
methods by which worship is robbed of all its 
primitive simplicity, of which an elaborate cere- 
monialism takes the place. 

At an early period in Dr. Gordon's ministry, 
he began to turn his attention to the matter of 
public worship. The Saxon word itself gives us a 
most important hint, — worth-ship, — ascribing 
worth to God, describing his worth in terms most 
fitting and honoring to him, inscribing that worth 
on the door-posts and gates of his sanctuary not 
only, but on the gates and door-posts of our own 
dwellings, and the expanse of our brows, and the 
palms of our hands, as something to be constantly 
borne in mind. 

The one supreme law of worship is this : 
" The Lord alone shall be exalted.'' He is a 
divinely jealous God, in that he will have no 
superior or even rival in the affections of his 
people ; he will not tolerate even as a medium of 
approach to him, anything whereby our thought 
and love are diverted from him. The ancient 
altar was to be of unhewn stone, lest the art 
expended in its adornment by the sculptor's chisel, 
might draw eyes from the vicarious victim that lay 
upon it. And so, in the house of worship, any- 
thing whatever which intrudes itself between the 
human soul and the object of worship is a fatal 



JEALOUSY FOR DIVINE WORSHIP I 25 

hindrance to the worshiper and a positive offense 
to God. Simplicity is of necessity the law of 
purity in worship, for it is the condition of single- 
ness of mind. Elaboration, which is both the 
handmaid and offspring of art, may easily become 
idolatrous by introducing a type and style and 
standard of eloquence in oratory, of worldly 
excellence in music, of aesthetics in architecture, 
garniture, and furniture, which defeat the main 
purpose for which worship is instituted, namely, 
the exaltation of God alone before the fixed gaze 
of the soul. 

This Boston pastor saw and felt what thousands 
seem unable to appreciate, or even apprehend, 
that it is not hostility to artistic perfection, but 
jealousy for spirituality, which inspires the purg- 
ing of worship from secular attractions. No man 
who knew the pastor of Clarendon Street Church 
could accuse him of antagonism or indifference to 
the beautiful, whether in form or color or sound. 
He was no cast-iron utilitarian. But he felt the 
supreme need of a type of worship consistent with 
its divine conception and answering to its scrip- 
tural purpose. How could a choir of unconverted 
singers make melody in their hearts unto the 
Lord, or inspire holy harmony in worshipers ? 
How could a musical performance on the part of 
mere artists, hired at costly prices, fulfill the high 
demands of public praise ? He felt, and to this 
end he particularly wrought, that the hands which 



124 THE DREAM AS INTERPRETING THE MAN 

touch the organ keys, or the voices which sing 
psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, should be 
themselves at the disposal of the Holy Spirit, and 
usable as his instruments. Moreover, he felt that 
all worship must be marked by unity of impres- 
sion. Hence a mere musical programme, arranged 
for artistic effect, without reference to harmony 
with the truth presented, and with other parts of 
worship, is an anomaly and absurdity. 

This philosophy of worship he consistently car- 
ried out. It affected his preaching. He had 
early begun to study oratory as an art, and his 
aim and ambition were to excel in public address. 
The sermon was to be an ideal product, a finished 
work of brain and pen, delivered with grace and 
skill. But he found before long, that there is as 
much risk to the preacher in exalting preaching to 
a fine art, as there is to the singer in idolizing the 
aesthetic element in sacred song. To preach with 
wisdom of words has often made the Cross of none 
effect by hiding the crucified and glorified Christ 
behind the veil of human eloquence ; and not 
until that elaborate and embroidered curtain is 
rent in twain from top to bottom, will the glory of 
God be revealed. It is possible to obscure the 
object of adoration by the very clouds of incense 
with which we surround him ; to worship God with 
forms and methods which call so much attention 
to themselves as to forfeit all transparency and 
surround him with the opaque smoke from our 



JEALOUSY FOR DIVINE WORSHIP 1 2$ 

own censers. The mere art of the apothecary has 
too much to do with compounding our incense, 
and in it are mingled too many earthly ingre- 
dients ; there is too much smoke and too little 
fragrance. 

Worship, in its wider scope, takes in all church 
conduct, even to the attitude of the worshiper, 
physical, mental, moral, spiritual. And the one 
law to keep before us, is this : ' ' See that thou 
make all things according to the pattern shewed 
to thee in the mount (Heb. 8 : 5). Whatever 
is unscriptural is generally found to be unspiritual. 
The only way of avoiding a Romanizing ritual is 
to avert from our worship what is not enjoined or 
encouraged in the word of God. The spectacular 
involves risk, for it absorbs the attention through 
the eye ; and the artistically musical, for it absorbs 
attention through the ear ; whatever draws 
thought from God, hinders worship ; whatever 
tends to lift him to sole prominence, by so much 
helps worship. And it is not too much to say 
that nothing which does not directly or indirectly 
contribute to such exaltation of God has a prope?' 
place in sanctuary service. Prayer and praise, 
the reading of the word and the preaching of the 
gospel, and even the offering of consecrated sub- 
stance, are all, therefore, ways of exalting God, 
because they present man in the attitudes of sup- 
pliant and servant, student and steward, waiting 
at his Lord's feet. 



126 THE DREAM AS INTERPRETING THE MAN 

How natural therefore, again, that our brother 
in his dream should searchingly inquire what 
would be the verdict of his sovereign Master were 
he to come to church, as to the reality or vanity 
of the worship he found there ! 




THE AUTHORITY OF THE WORD OF GOD 

F any two characteristics must always be 
inseparably associated with this devout 
disciple whose dream is here recorded, 
they must surely be his unshaken confidence in 
the seven-sealed book of God and his personal sur- 
render to the seven-fold power of the Spirit of God. 
As to the book, that is a remarkable description, 
or designation given us in the fifth chapter of the 
Apocalypse — the scroll, written within and on the 
back side, sealed with seven seals. What a strik- 
ing metaphor to express the very handwriting of 
God in the inspired volume, attested with the 
seven-fold seal of complete authority and authen- 
ticity, and so bearing the unmistakable sanction of 
the divine Author ! 

The work will bear the marks of the workman 
— his knowledge and wisdom, skill and design. 
Moreover, the more perfect the workmanship the 
more complete the exhibition of the character of 
him who thought out and wrought out such per- 
fection of product. Now it is very remarkable 

that just such seven-fold perfection is claimed for 

127 



128 THE DREAM AS INTERPRETING THE MAN 

the word of God. We associate with him who is 
its author, seven attributes : such as omnipotence, 
omniscience, omnipresence — natural attributes ; 
and providence, truth, righteousness, and love — 
moral attributes. All these his word displays in a 
remarkable manner and degree : 

His Omnipotence, in the miracles of power 
which it records. 

His Omniscience, in its predictive prophecies. 

His Omnipresence, in its unity of plan and 
structure. 

His Providence, in its history and biography. 

His Truth, in its general accuracy. 

His Righteousness, in its faultless morality. 

His Love, in its transforming energy. 

No survey of the inspired word is complete 
until it takes in all these forms of proof and 
methods of attestation and authentication. As it 
is of the utmost importance to us to know beyond 
doubt that the Bible is God's book, and to repose 
with absolute certainty upon its teachings, God has 
so fully set his seal and sanction upon it that no 
reasonable doubt remains. And it is significant 
that all these proofs of its divine origin lie within 
itself, so that we have only to search the Scriptures 
to find God's seven-fold seal impressed on them 
all the way through. 

A. J. (Gordon was the man of the book, and of 
the one book. No man, perhaps, of his genera- 
tion, has done more in the line of Christian apolo^l 



THE AUTHORITY OF THE WORD OF GOD 1 29 

getics, but it was mostly by indirection. He 
defended the Bible by expounding it. 

His attitude toward the Holy Scriptures was 
beautifully reverent. To him the Bible 7L>as a 
livi7ig book, not only containing a divine message, 
but divinely inbreathed, and therefore instinct 
with the divine life. As God first made man out 
of the dust of the ground, and then breathed into 
him the breath of life, so that man became a liv- 
ing soul, so, whatever was earthly and human in 
the book had taken form and fashion under the 
finger of God and had become living by the 
breath of his divine inspiration. This humble 
believer went to the Bible not as to a dead book, 
but as to a living being ; he communed with the 
word as with a person, and expected to find in 
such converse the response to his advances and 
questionings, and he was not disap])ointed. He 
has often spoken of the word of God as giving 
answer, as one prayerfully searches it and seeks 
guidance in doubt, difficulty, and perplexity ; and, 
in common with the most prayerful students of its 
mysteries, he found the heavenly Interpreter 
unfolding and applying its truths with the skill of 
a personal counsellor. 

Dr. Gordon was not among those who doubt 
either the inspiration or infallibility of the divine 
word. He believed that it was essentially iner- 
rant, and when he found difficulties or discrep- 
ancies, instead of distrusting the accuracy of the 
9 



130 THE DREAM AS INTERPRETING THE MAN 

divine oracles, he rather suspected the accuracy 
of his own understanding. He traced the defects, 
not to the objects seen, but to the eye seeing ; and 
when contradiction was apparent, he waited, as 
when the twin pictures of the stereoscope fail to 
blend, one waits to get the common focal center 
of vision which resolves the discord into harmoni- 
ous unity. In other departments of knowledge 
we understand in order to believe ; but in this 
divine science of spiritual mysteries we believe in 
order to understand. Faith is philosophy here, 
and obedience is the organ of spiritual vision : 
" If any man will do his will he shall know of the 
doctrine." " If ye will not believe, surely ye 
shall not be established." 

To this constant and searching study of the 
word of God, our departed brother owed much of 
the energy and beauty of his writings. 

In literary style he revealed remarkable power 
in analysis and antithesis, and these are perhaps 
the most conspicious features of his composition. 
He saw truth in itself and its relations. He had 
the homiletical faculty which detects the natural 
divisions of a text or theme as an astronomer sees 
orderly constellations where common eyes see 
only irregular and scattered stars. The facility 
and felicity with which he saw and expressed the 
elements of a complete truth, discriminated 
between things that differ, and arranged and 
adjusted related truths, were very remarkable. 



THE AUTHORITY OF THE WORD OF GOD I3I 

He must have been a clear thinker to make such 
clear distinctions. There was no indefinite haze 
or indiscriminate muddle about his views or state- 
ments of truth ; and we cannot but think that he 
owed even these literary attainments largely to 
the daily study of His words who spake as never 
man spake. 

A few examples may both prove and illustrate 
what we have said. In that remarkable book on 
"The Ministry of the Spirit," contrasting the 
work of Conscience and of the Holy Spirit, he 
thus represents the matter ; ^ 



Conscience Convinces — 
Of sin committed; 
Of righteousness impossible ; 
Of judgment impending. 



The Comforter Convinces — 
Of sin committed ; 
Of righteousness imputed ; 
Of judgment accomplished. 



He further says,^ that " Conscience is the wit- 
ness to the law ; the Spirit is the witness to grace. 
Conscience brings legal conviction ; the Spirit 
brings evangelical conviction ; the one begets a 
conviction unto despair, the other a conviction 
unto hope." 

Who cannot see in such distinctions and dis- 
criminations as these the fruits of a microscopic 
study of the inspired word ? The man who 
beheved Scripture to be "literature indwelt by 
the Spirit of God" \^ that in the Scripture the 
Holy Ghost speaks, and " we can only understand 
his thoughts by listening to his words " ; * such a 

1 Page 202. 2 Page 191. 3 Page 173. 4 Page 176. 



132 THE DREAM AS INTERPRETING THE MAN 

man would naturally examine into the exact terms 
used, and into the nicest shades of meaning which 
distinguish them from each other, and so learn for 
himself to use language with deep apprehension 
of its significance and critical accuracy in its 
application to the expression of ideas. 



VI 

THE SCRIPTURAL PATTERN OF CHURCH LIFE 




OR see, saith he, that thou make all things 
according to the pattern shewed to thee 
in the mount," The church is a divine 
institution. It grew not, as many human institu- 
tions do, by a process of evolution out of man's 
conscious need. He who saw what man needed, 
fashioned this society of believers, and it was 
complete in all essentials from the first. 

But, to tarry further on the thought of a scrip- 
tural pattern of church life, this dream reveals the 
whole secret of Dr. Gordon's purpose. He was 
not a dictator seeking to have his own w-ay, and 
autocratically forcing on the church his own will ; 
nor a half-crazy fanatic following some vagary or 
impracticable theory ; but, like Moses, he had his 
eye on a scriptural and divine pattern, and he 
long and laboriously wrought to mold everything 
in church life according thereto. That a custom 
had grown up was no reason for its continuance ; 
it might be, as Cyprian said, vetustas erroris. 
"Every plant which my Heavenly Father hath 
not planted shall be rooted up, ' ' said his Master 



134 THE DREAM AS INTERPRETING THE MAN 

before him, when his attention was called to the 
fact that his teaching had given the Pharisees 
offense. And the imperturbable spirit with which 
Pastor Gordon calmly went forward, without 
undue carefulness as to the opinions or opposition 
he encountered, in the pursuit of his object, must 
have been caught from his Master. He found 
some plants growing in the sanctuary courts which 
he knew his Heavenly Father had not planted, 
and he determined to root them up, though it 
might take twenty years to do it, as it did. 

It may be well to ask, what are the scriptural 
marks of a church of Christ ? They seem to be 
four : the apostolic church was an assembly for 
•worship : an organized body for aggressive work 
for Christ ; a school for training disciples ; a home 
for the family of God. Doubtless all that vitally 
pertains to the original scriptural conception of a 
church of Christ can be included in this simple 
outline. 

I. Worship was the leading idea, as we have 
seen, the exalting of God, and his dear son Jesus 
Christ, and the Holy Spirit, before the thought 
and adoring love of disciples. We find not a 
trace of sacred places, or sacred persons, and 
scarce a hint of sacred titnes or seaso?ts. Where- 
ever and whenever God and his worshiping people 
met, the ground was thereby hallowed and the 
time sanctified ; and all believers seem to have 
been singularly on a level, preaching the word, 



SCRIPTURAL PATTERN OF CHURCH LIFE 1 35 

teaching the way of God more perfectly, and even 
administering sacramental rites. ^ Worship seems 
to have been perfectly simple, consisting of prayer, 
praise, reading and expounding the word, bearing 
witness to the resurrection of Christ, baptizing 
believers, and breaking bread in his name, with 
at least occasional offerings for poor saints. There 
are no clerical prerogatives, titled officials, choirs 
or hired singers, no secular trustees, no worldly 
entertainments, no consecrated buildings, and not 
a sign of a salaried service of any sort. God 
seems to be the center around which the early 
church crystallized, and the whole organization of 
believers was free from complicated methods and 
worldly maxims. 

2. Work by all, in diverse spheres of activity, 
according to diversity of gifts, was the law of 
church life. The Spirit speaks expressly in the 
Epistle to the Ephesians,^ that the very purpose of 
all offices and functions, apostles, prophets, evan- 
gelists, pastors, and teachers, was one sublime 
end : service. All the gifts and graces bestowed 
and distributed by the Spirit were for the perfect- 
ing of the saints unto the work of serving, unto 
the building up of the body of Christ, so that there 
might be the double growth of accession and 
expansion. The early church had no room for 
an idle and selfish soul. Every believer was a 
worker, warrior, witness. He came into the 

1 Compare Acts 8:4; 11 : 19-21 ; 18 : 26 ; 8 : 35-38. 

2 4: 11-16. 



136 THE DREAM AS INTERPRETING THE MAN 

church as soon as he believed and was baptized, 
to be a member in the body where every member 
had an office, and must needs fulfill his function 
in order to the health and help of the whole body. 
The idea of simply coming into the church as a 
candidate for salvation has no place in apostolic 
ideas whatever. The church was composed of 
professedly regenerated people, giving themselves 
to the work of edifying saints and evangelizing 
sinners. 

3. The school feature is prominent. The 
believer was a disciple, a learner, and he was to 
be docile and humble enough to be ready to be 
taught by any one competent to teach. In the 
majority of cases, converts needed instruction, and 
there is nothing more beautiful than where Apollos, 
the scholar and orator of Alexandria, puts himself 
under the tuition of two poor tent-makers of 
Corinth, one of them a woman, to be taught the 
way of God more perfectly. The first theological 
seminary was a humble lodging, with a single 
student and two professors, a man and his wife, 
and the wife the head of the faculty. Sublime 
simpHcity indeed ! where he that hears and 
believes enters a divine school, and takes his 
place as a pupil to be further taught whatsoever 
Christ has commanded, and trained to be a 
teacher and helper of others. 

4. We must add to all these the conception of 
a family home. In order to become a radiating 



SCRIPTURAL PATTERN OF CHURCH LIFE 1 37 

point the church must be first a rallying point. 
There must be a bond of brotherhood and asso- 
ciation in order to a mutual edification and an 
effective co-operation in service. And so we find 
love, the bond of perfectness and the impulse to 
all service, dominant in the early church. Love 
knows no distinctions, except it be in favor of the 
least and lowest, and love made everybody wel- 
come and at home. Poverty and obscurity, ignor- 
ance and illiteracy, shut no convert out from sym- 
pathy and fellowship. Within the assembly of 
saints there were no caste lines or barriers. The 
idea of renting or selling pews or sittings at auction 
to the highest bidder — of setting up a property 
right and restriction in a place of worship, to make 
a poor man feel ill at ease or shut him out 
altogether — the very suggestion is utterly foreign 
to all New Testament notions.^ 

A preacher and pastor who thus magnifies his 
ministry in its five-fold relation to the person of 
Christ and the Holy Ghost, the gospel of grace, 
the church of God and the kingdom of God, as 
in every department simply a service, will com- 
municate, consciously or unconsciously, the con- 
tagion of his holy enthusiasm, to all receptive 
hearers. His preaching will be a university edu- 
cation in divine things. He will not think of his 
church as a field to work so much as a force to 
work with ; not as the parish which claims and 

1 Compare i Cor. 11 : 17-22 ; James 2 : 1-9, 



138 THE DREAM AS INTERPRETING THE MAN 

bounds his love and labor so much as the garner 
containing the good seed of the kingdom, to be 
scattered for a harvest. He will try to train every 
believer into a herald and witness, so that from 
ear to heart and then from heart to lip and so from 
lip to ear again, the gospel message may run on 
its ceaseless round of salvation. 

Because Dr. Gordon kept such a scriptural 
pattern before him and worked toward that, he 
gradually purged worship of all its meretricious 
secular arts, led his people into manifold forms of 
holy service, made the church literally a training 
school for disciples, and a home where poor and 
rich, high and low, met on terms of equal right 
and privilege. There was nothing for which he 
wrought which was not a part of the scriptural 
model, and he succeeded because he knew that 
God was with him and he could afford to wait 
God's time. 

We can again understand the dream and its 
interpretation, for it is obvious that, in waking 
and sleeping hours alike, the question before him 
was, what would Christ himself say if he came to 
church ? Would he find the assembly of saints 
exemplifying the scriptural and spiritual idea of 
the body of Christ ? 




VII 



THE PRESIDENCY OF THE SPIRIT IN THE CHURCH 

OHN OWEN gave to the church a Piieii- 
matologia — a discourse upon the Holy 
Spirit which, in his day, taught the 
church a much needed lesson. He maintained 
that each different age has its own test of ortho- 
doxy. Before Christ came it was found in the 
attitude of God's people as to Messianic prophecy ; 
in the day of Christ's personal incarnation, it was 
found in his reception or rejection by those to 
whom he presented his claims as Son of God ; 
after the day of Pentecost the test was whether or 
not we have received the Holy Ghost, and how far 
he has freedom to work in and through us. 

Adoniram J. Gordon, unconsciously perhaps, 
gave to the church another pneiiviatologia. He 
sought to realize for himself what it meant to be 
like Daniel, " greatly beloved of God " ; and so 
he became in himself both an expression and exhi- 
bition of the fact of the Spirit's indwelling and 
inworking. From this personal experience he 
carried the doctrine and influence into the collec- 
tive body of behevers, and so sought to make the 

139 



140 THE DREAM AS INTERPRETING THE MAN 

church of which he was pastor a Hving temple of 
the Holy Spirit. 

This conception of the indwelling and presi- 
dency of the Holy Spirit affected two great 
spheres : first, his individual life ; and secondly, 
his pastoral life. Personally he was so indwelt by 
the Spirit that he saw truth through illumined 
eyes. He was a seer, a modern prophet, in the 
sense of insight if not of foresight. In Samuel's 
days "there was no open vision," and the word 
of the Lord was correspondingly precious. Han- 
nah's son was not only a Samuel, God-asked, but 
a Theodore, God-given — a special bestowment of 
the Lord to revive the spirit of prophecy and 
restore the open vision. A. J. Gordon was given 
of God to the modern church in the days of a 
waning spirituality, when the sense of the Holy 
Spirit's personality, deity, and even reality was 
dull and dim, and in some cases quite lost, to 
revive the impression and quicken the expression 
of the Spirit's actual and active indwelling. If he 
had any special office which was unique, it was 
to appreciate, and in his own person and life illus- 
trate, the inworking and outworking of the Holy 
Ghost ; and on a larger scale furnish both demon- 
stration and illustration of the Spirit's administra- 
tion of church life also under favorable conditions. 

Upon this last and most important department 
of thought it is the less necessary to dilate, inas- 
much as to it Dr. Gordon gives more than thirty 



THE SPIRIT IN THE CHURCH I4I 

pages in his work on "The Ministry of the 
Spirit." ^ But, for the sake of those who may not 
have read that masterly treatise, and to complete 
the interpretation of this dream, it may be well to 
sketch in outline the simple yet sublime concep- 
tion presented in Scripture, and particularly in the 
Acts of the Apostles, of the Spirit's administration 
of church life. 

Considered as a temple of which Christ is the 
corner-stone, and in which believers are living 
stones, he is the Divine Indweller, and holds there 
his throne and seat, as the Shekinah in the Holy 
of Holies of old. Considered as a body of which 
Christ is the head, and all regenerate souls mem- 
bers, he is the all-pervading and controlling Spirit 
that vitalizes and subsidizes the whole. The 
moment such a conception is formed in the mind, 
all the rest follows. He who is enthroned in a 
temple properly claims all homage and obedi- 
ence ; he who as the Spirit of Life fills and 
thrills the body, not only 7tiay but must rule in the 
whole organism, unless as in diseased members 
the conditions are so abnormal as to interrupt his 
proper activity. And again, as the spirit of life is 
the organizing power in the body, and distributes 
blood, nerve-force, nutritive energy in every part 
of the body, and, as the central will, wields for 
life's ends every member and organ — so the Spirit 
of God where he is permitted to control abso- 

1 Chapter vii. 



142 THE DREAM AS INTERPRETING THE MAN 

lutely will make every part of the body of Christ 
both healthful and useful. If we yield he will 
imeld. 

Hence follow several vital conclusions : 
I. As to the constitution and organization of 
the church, members should be added, and all 
officers should be appointed, by the Spirit. No 
ceremonies, ordinances, or sacraments can make 
a church-member any more than any human power 
can add a member to the body. We are to be 
jealous and zealous not to have multitudes added 
to church rolls, but "to the Lord." And, in 
electing officers, we are to look out those who 
have not only honest report and wisdom but are 
full of the Holy Ghost ; otherwise how can he be 
unhindered in his administration ? Every unre- 
generate or even unsanctified m.an or woman in a 
church office or even a church-membership, 
obstructs the divine policy of administration, so 
that we may virtually unseat the Holy Spii'it from 
his rightful throne and "see," by putting into, or 
allowing to be put into, places of official trust, 
those who are not in sympathy with the Spirit's 
mind and methods. What then shall be said of 
the inventio?t of a whole hierarchy, which borrows 
its entire framework from Constantine's imperial 
court, with a score of offices unknown to the apos- 
tolic church, with vestments and diadems, palaces 
and retinues, salaries and dignities ; and what of 
the presumption of claiming to be the vicar of 



THE SPIRIT IN THE CHURCH 1 43 

Christ, when his ascension gift was his own Divine 
Vicar, the Paraclete ! Is this not indirect blas- 
phemy against the Holy Spirit ? 

We begin to understand now why this gifted pas- 
tor cared so little for ecclesiastical honors, dignities, 
and preferments. He yielded himself to the Holy 
Spirit, to be simply a servant — the servant of Christ 
and the servant of the church for Jesus' sake. All 
airs and assumptions of lordship were to him 
arrogant and offensive, and implied disloyalty to 
the Spirit. He was one of those of whom Hudson 
Taylor says that they are not so anxious to be suc- 
cessors of the apostles who went indeed to bring 
food but brought no inquiring soul back with them, 
as to be successors of the Samaritan woman who 
forgot her waterpot in her zeal to bear the living 
water to the thirsty souls at Sychar, and brought 
back a whole city to sit at Jesus' feet. 

2. As to the distribution of spheres of service. 
Who is he that sets in the church, apostles, 
prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, elders 
and deacons and deaconesses ; and appoints 
every servant for every service ? Who knows the 
heart, and knows the work, and can fit each for 
the other, but the Lord, the Spirit ? Of what 
transcendent importance to the church to have a 
divine wisdom select and a divine grace qualify 
every member for his own office ; nay, to have the 
Spirit determine what work needs to be done, and 
what are the time, place, and way to begin it or 



144 THE DREAM AS INTERPRETING THE MAN 

enlarge it ! What an awfully august privilege and 
responsibility combined, if it be possible and 
practicable for a church so to be surrendered to the 
Holy Ghost and dominated by him, as that in all 
deliberations and determinations, in all results 
reached through prayerful counsel and obedient 
self-surrender, it may be reverently true to say, 
"// seemed good to the Holy Ghost and to us.'' 

3. As to the practical purity and spirituality of 
church life. Temple of the Holy Ghost ! Body 
of Christ indwelt by the Spirit of God ! What a 
hallowing must there be tothose who really believe 
this ! What a sad commentary on the church's 
attitude toward the Spirit, that it is possible with- 
out remonstrance for godless singers to be hired 
to conduct the service of song, which is a mockery 
without the grace in the heart that makes melody 
unto the Lord ! That it is possible in choosing a 
pastor, to consult only his intellectual standing 
and popular oratory, without ever asking whether 
he be a spirit-filled man ! That it is possible for 
such an unscriptural office to exist as that of secu- 
lar trustees, and that men should be deliberately 
put into control without any regard often to the 
fact that they do not even profess to be 
regenerate ! 

There are some who cry down, by the obnoxi- 
ous name of "pessimism," those who hint that 
the modern church is drifting toward apostasy. 
Yet what is apostasy but a departure from the 



THE SPIRIT IN THE CHURCH I45 

essefitial principles of Christian life and church 
life ! And Dr. Gordon, gentle as he was, and 
slow to accuse his brethren, felt in his soul that 
the church of Christ has largely lost sight of the 
very essentials of a Spirit-filled and Spirit-ruled 
body; and that Romanizing ritualism, rationalistic 
skepticism, and a world-assimilating secularism, 
are the trinity practically worshiped in the place 
of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. 



VIII 



THE LAST MESSAGE TO THE CHURCH 




R. GORDON being dead yet speaketh. 
Perhaps some who would not hear 
while he lived will listen, now that he 
is no more among us, to the last message which 
he can ever deliver to his brethren. 

What is the voice that breaks even the death 
silence ? 

1. He tells us that preaching is nothing if it 
be not the utterance of the mind of the Spirit, and 
that, therefore, we who speak must tarry long in 
the closet with the word, that he may unloose its 
seals and unveil our eyes to behold wondrous 
things out of his inspired book. 

2. He tells us that prayer is the one vital 
element in all true worship, praying in the Holy 
Ghost, asking in Christ's name and by the power 
of the Spirit ; the believer becoming the channel 
of a double intercession, the Holy Spirit interced- 
ing within by originating all true prayer, the 
ascended Christ interceding at God's own right 
hand, by receiving, perfecting, and transmitting 

all true prayer. 

146 



THE LAST MESSAGE TO THE CHURCH 14 7 

3. He tells us that praise, which is the ele- 
ment of worship apposite to prayer, needs a 
spiritual mind to appreciate and a spiritual frame 
to exercise it. Church music as a fine art simply, 
is an affront to God rather than an approach to 
him, for it assumes and presumes to set up an art 
standard in place of the beauty of holiness. 
There are two passages, respectively in the 
Epistles to the Ephesians ^ and the Colossians, 
which being combined, would read somewhat 
thus : 

" Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in 
all wisdom, and be filled with the Spirit ; speak- 
ing among yourselves, teaching and admonishing 
one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual 
songs, singing with grace in your hearts and mak- 
ing melody in your hearts to the Lord." Thus 
combined, we get a little world of suggestive 
teaching in this narrow compass. We are taught 
that the prerequisite to all holy service in song is 
two-fold : rich indwelling of the word of God, 
and complete infilling of the Spirit ; then our 
songs become a holy outpouring of a spiritual 
acquaintance with the word of God and the Spirit 
of God. Again, we are taught that the attraction 
of such song is found in the grace and melody of 
heart, which only God can detect or hear. But 
we are also taught a lesson, most unique and 
novel, that such song is a vehicle for mutual 

1 Eph. 5 ; 19 ; Col. 3 : x6. 



148 THE DREAM AS INTERPRETING THE MAN 

teaching, exhorting, admonishing. In other words, 
it is one way of preaching the gospel of salvation 
to sinners and of edification to saints. 

How blind we have been that we have never 
understood the value of holy song as a means of 
teaching, reproof, correction, and instruction in 
righteousness, like the inspired Scripture, and of 
imparting wisdom, grace, strength, comfort, like 
the inspiring Spirit ! Church music, purged of its 
secular corruptions and charged with the Spirit's 
life, might become spiritual food and drink, medi- 
cine and message, all at once ; a feeder, healei, 
helper of souls. Is it that now ? 

The dream and the dreamer are left to us only 
in memory. But was not God speaking to the 
whole church when, in the visions of the night, he 
stamped on Pastor Gordon's mind and heart the 
image of Christ coming to church ? 

Let us judge ourselves, that we be not judged. 
Let us try our ways and turn again unto the Lord. 
Let us dare cease measuring ourselves by our- 
selves, and comparing ourselves among ourselves, 
and set up God's own standard of measurement 
and comparison. 

" And the Lord said unto me, . . What seest 
thou ? 

And I said, A plumbline. 

Then said the Lord, 

Behold, I will set a plumbline in the midst of 
my people." ^ 

1 Amos 7 : 8. 



THE LAST MESSAGE TO THE CHURCH I49 

God is applying his standard to the work which 
men have builded, and its unhallowed and irreg- 
ular construction is sadly evident. Who among 
us with the clearness of a divinely given vision, 
the courage of a divinely wrought conviction, will 
dare pull down what is not plumb and level by 
his standards, and rebuild according to the divine 
pattern ? 

Blessed temple of God, indeed, to which the 
Master can come and find no need of the scourge 
of small cords. Blessed church of which he can 
say : 

" Thou hast kept my word, 

And hast not denied my name. 

I have loved thee. 

Because thou hast kept the word of my 
patience, 

I also will keep thee 

From the hour of temptation. " ^ 

1 Rev. 3 : 8-10. 



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